When prepared correctly, tofu has potential to be a minimally processed, quick and tasty meal containing protein, calcium, and omega-6 fatty acids.
When I went vegetarian six years ago, I admit my diet was not as balanced as it should have been. While I shied away from most junk food (with the exception of daily dark chocolate indulgences) my protein intake consisted mainly of hummus…lots and lots of hummus. And while this tasty Mediterranean dip is a great option for those who have forgone meat, it does get exhausting having it every day. So in an effort to reduce my hummus intake (however healthy it may be) my chronicle into the world of tofu began.
This new white substance was uncharted territory for me. I had never eaten it growing up, and it only existed in my consciousness as a spongy, strange food-like substance only eaten by fringe food extremists. My first forays into tofu-hood were disasters, yielding an unappetizing flavor and texture.
This was until I received a vegan cookbook for my birthday; Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the veritable queen of the modern vegan movement (she has seven books, including Veganomican, the 250-recipe monster of a book aptly subtitled The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook). Not only does Moskowitz provide interesting, go-to vegan recipes, but she outlines a step-by-step guide to making tofu…good tofu that you actually want to eat, and believe it or not, crave.
Despite my many years of owning the cookbook however, I did not incorporate tofu into my life until recently. When prepared correctly, tofu has potential to be a minimally processed, quick and tasty meal containing protein, calcium, and omega-6 fatty acids.
So without any further ado, here are my tips on preparing tofu, as illuminated by Ms. Moskowitz.
- Buy extra firm tofu rather than the silken kind. It can be either packaged and shelf-stable or refrigerated and packed in water.
- Cut the tofu into ½ inch slices and wrap in a clean tea towel. Find a big, heavy pan and place it on top of the tofu. It doesn’t hurt to put a can or two on top of the pan as well. You really want to press the tofu as much as possible without crushing it, or else it will turn spongy when cooked. Press for 20 minutes to get the best results.
- While you can bake or fry the tofu, the easiest way to cook it is to throw cubes into a pot of soup, heat through, and serve. The tofu will absorb the soup’s flavor, and add an extra boost of nutrients.