Many people often say that tofu has no distinct taste but they don’t realize what an advantage that is. Part of the appeal of tofu is the diversity in how it can be used in various dishes from sweet to savory. With a little practice and experimenting one can master tofu preparation develop a true appreciation for this inexpensive protein source.
Tofu, or soybean curd, comes in a variety of consistencies from silken to extra firm. For best results when frying select the extra firm variety. For a quick accompaniment to breakfast or as part of any other meal simply slice the tofu block into 1/8 inch strips; arrange on a plate; add a little liquid marinate; let sit for a few minutes and then drain and fry. You only need a small amount of oil, enough to cover the entire surface of the pan in a shallow layer.
On an electric stove set the dial to 5 or 6 and let the element heat up before placing first the pan and then the oil. You want to let the pan heat slightly so the oil will be hot enough to crisp up the tofu. Brown the tofu on each side and then remove and drain the slices on paper toweling.
Fried tofu slices are a great side for pancakes and other breakfast foods, steamed or sautéed vegetables, even spaghetti. For a delicious and simple meal add fired tofu slices to rice and beans with fried plantain. For a quick meal or snack use fried tofu slices in a sandwich. Simply add lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and the condiment of your choice as you would any other sandwich.
For a quick and easy one dish meal cut extra firm tofu into cubes, season and marinate, drain, fry and set aside. Steam some broccoli florets for 6 to 8 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. (Note, you may want to briefly rinse the broccoli in cool water to stop it from cooking or you can remove it from the heat before it is completely done.) Take a handful of pecan pieces and chop slightly and set aside.
You will also need a couple cups of cooked rice that has cooled or was left over from another meal. Basically all you need to do now is combine all the ingredients with a little oil in a large pan over medium heat for a quick stir fry. Because everything is already cooked you only need to give the ingredients enough time to blend and heat thoroughly.
If the rice is cold from the fridge you may want to set it out while you are organizing and preparing the other ingredients. You may also want to add it to the pan first since it needs to warm up to the temperature of the other ingredients.
For a variation you could substitute rotini pasta for rice and try different vegetables such as zucchini or mushrooms, with a little Italian seasoning and grated parmesan cheese. When using pasta you would eliminate the stir fry step. Instead, you would prepare the tofu and vegetables and then toss in the drained pasta with a little olive oil. This dish can be served with or without sauce.With a little imagination you can experiment with your own seasoning and ingredient combinations to make a variety of healthy and delicious tofu dishes.