Alright, don’t get scared. We have all heard it 100 times, you like tofu but have no idea how to cook it or if you tried at home you failed miserably. Or the other option- you have never had tofu and it freaks you out…
No matter what your history with tofu I highly suggest you give this a try.
It all starts at the grocery store. You want extra-firm tofu. Tofu is high in protein, low in calories, cheap and a great canvas for flavors.
Some of my favorite flavors to do with tofu are fresh garlic, fresh ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce (gluten free) and brown sugar. So while you are at the store you might as well stock up.
Once you are ready to cook the tofu you will need a non-stick or Teflon pan, a bowl or container to hold the marinade, paper towels or a few tea towels, a knife and a spatula.
Open the tofu- do this over the sink because tofu is packed in water. Drain the water and take the tofu brick and place it on a few layers of paper towels. You want to put more paper towels on top and slightly press own on the tofu, pulling out some of the water.
Take your knife and cut the tofu like a hamburger bun to take it to 1/2-3/4 inches thick. Take each 1/2 and cut into 4 pieces. From here it is your preference how you want to cut it. You can cut each piece into 2 triangles or 4 stripes. I have done both. Tonight I’m doing stir fry so I thought the stripes would be easier to toss in.
Once you have your tofu cut, press it again with paper towel to help pull out some of the water.
Now most people think- marinade then cook… But NOT with tofu. You MUST cook tofu first.
You want to take your pan and put it on medium-low to low heat. Place tofu in the pan making sure you leave space between the pieces. I normally have to cook it in 2 batches. Make sure you don’t put anything in the pan with the tofu. This is a DRY fry so no oil, cooking spray, nothing is needed.
Let the tofu cook on med-low to low heat moving it around a bit to make sure it doesn’t stick.
Every few minutes you want to take your spatula and press down on the tofu. This will let more water come out and you will see little bubbles of the liquid on the pan and evaporate.
You want to continue cooking until the bottom is very firm and golden brown. Then flip over the tofu and do the same to the other side. Make sure you remember to use the spatula to press out any extra water. Once golden brown and very firm it is done and ready to hit the marinade
For the marinade I like to use 3 large cloves of garlic chopped, 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (I use a zester and grate the ginger using that), 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar (if you like things a bit sweeter use the larger), 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar and 1/2 cup soy sauce (I use gluten free soy sauce in my house for obvious reasons).
Once the tofu is ready to go your options are endless.
I like to cook up so rice noodles and have some fresh stir fry veggies on hand. Use whatever you like.
I take my wok and scoop out all the yummy chopped garlic from the marinades and toss it in with a few tablespoons of the marinade. Toss in any meat if any you want. Sometimes I add chicken and or shrimp to go with the tofu. Cook the meat. Once that is done toss in any veggies you like. I happen to have sugar snap peas on hand. Cook up the veggies adding in more reserved marinade if needed. In a wok this only takes a few mins.
Lastly add in the cooked rice noodles, cooked tofu and sauté until heated through. If you like bean spouts you can add those in now too.
Right before you turn off the heat if you like lemon or lime feel free to toss some juice in as well.
This dish is sweet so if you are looking or some heat add in some Thai Chili sauce.
That’s it. You are done! Enjoy your tofu!