Ten Ways to Cook Tofu

Cooking with tofu has gained popularity as more and more people try to increase the amount of protein in their diets. The main benefit of tofu (bean curd) is that it is a versatile, vegan source of protein that allows you to experiment with many different ways to cook tofu.

Firm tofu needs to be drained and pressed before it is cooked. You will want to pat your tofu dry with a paper towel, then slice the block into several pieces. Place the pieces of tofu on top of several paper towels and place several more paper towels on top of tofu. Then place something heavy on top of the tofu to extract any excess moisture. You will want to let the tofu remain under pressure for 30 to 60 minutes before removing the weight and slicing the tofu into the shape and size desired.

Tofu sold uncooked in blocks needs to be cooked before consumption in order to prevent food poisoning.

Silken tofu that is precooked and vacuum-packed does not need any special treatment before use.

Try one of these ten ways to cook tofu:

Bake it. Slice pressed and drained firm tofu blocks into thin slices and bake on a cookie sheet (sprayed with non-stick spray) at 400 degrees until golden brown.  Add to main dishes.

Sauté it. Sauté thin triangles of pressed and drained firm tofu in either olive oil, vegetable oil or butter until golden brown and crispy.

Deep fry it. Fry thin triangles of pressed and drained firm tofu in your deep fryer until light brown and crispy.

Add it to chili or stew. After firm tofu is drained and pressed, it can be crumbled into pieces that are much like ground turkey or ground beef. Add crumbled firm tofu to chili or stew and cook through for at least 15 minutes at medium heat.

Make a cheesecake or custard from it. Silken tofu is perfect for making cheesecakes and custards. Replace cream cheese or heavy creams with tofu in cheesecake and custard recipes to create delicious, high protein desserts.

Stir-fry it. Stir-fry chunks of pressed and drained firm tofu much as you would any other meat. The tofu will nicely absorb the flavors of the stir-fry oils and sauce.

Turn it into a smoothie. Use precooked, silken tofu in smoothies. Add fresh berries, sugar, vanilla flavoring, soymilk and ice and blend for a healthful, protein-laden smoothie.

Simmer it. Simmer chunks of firm tofu in a broth, soup or marinade for at least ten minutes for a pleasant meat substitute that will take on the flavor of the tofu soup.

Broil it. Dip pressed and drained slices of firm tofu in flour and spices, then place on well-oiled broiler pan. Broil on high heat in oven until tofu forms a crispy, light brown crust on top of slices.

Steam it. It is not advisable to eat raw firm tofu (the kind packed in blocks in water), but you can steam it and then cool it if you want to use it as if it were raw in salads or in other dishes. Place an inch of water in the bottom of your steamer pan. Place raw firm tofu in steamer basket and steam over simmering water for ten minutes, until cooked through.

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