Cooking Hints & Miscellaneous Info - Cooking with Tofu




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surfer376
11-13-2005, 01:56 AM
ok...I guess I can't link here so I will just copy and paste.

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:36 am Post subject:

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Cooking Techniques

There are a few simple techniques that we'll walk you through so you can see how easy this great food is to prepare.

1. Draining
2. Freeze & Squeeze
3. Cutting & Crumbling
4. Marinating
5. Cooking


Draining

Draining the tofu, or expelling the water from the bean curd is the most important step in the preparation process. Once you get a large portion of the water out of the curd it will absorb more of the flavor of the other foods you're cooking with. Here are some ways you can drain the tofu.


Open the package over a sink or large bowl so that you have a place to pour off the water.

If leaving the tofu block whole, you can place it on a plate and let the water drain off. You will need to put the plate on an incline by putting something underneath the plate to lift it off the counter. Then just put it next to the sink so it can drain off right into the sink. You'll need to let it drain for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Another option is to just place it in a colander and leave it in the sink to drain for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Another option is to first pour off the water, then wrap the tofu in a clean dishtowel and weigh it down with a plate. The towel will absorb most of the water within 30 minutes.




Freeze & Squeeze

When you freeze tofu it changes its consistency and makes it chewier and a bit more dense. You should only freeze the firm or extra firm tofu; other types will not freeze well. Once it's frozen, the color will darken slightly. You can either drain the tofu and freeze it wrapped in plastic wrap or freeze it while it's in the original container, or put it on a cookie sheet once you've drained and cut it.

Thaw your frozen tofu either at room temperature or immerse it in boiling water before you add it to your recipe. You can also thaw the tofu in the microwave or in your refrigerator. The key is to get all the moisture out that you can.

Once drained, simply wrap it up tightly and place it in the freezer until you want to use it.

Once you've taken out the frozen tofu, unwrap it, let it thaw until soft and gently squeeze the block over a sink to press out the remainder of the water.

Another option is to drain the tofu, cut the tofu into slabs and freeze them on a cookie sheet.



Cutting & Crumbling

Now you're ready to cut the tofu into perfect cooking pieces. Depending on how you plan on cooking the tofu, you can slice it into slabs, dice it into cubes or cut it into strips. Cubing the tofu will allow for the most surface area, so the tofu will retain the most flavor.
Slice the tofu block into ½ inch slabs. Slabs of tofu are good for marinating, baking or grilling.


Once you've cut the tofu into slabs, it's easy to turn them into strips. Strips are good for marinating, stir-frying and sautéing.

Once you've cut the tofu into strips it's easy to dice it into cubes. You can even skip the first draining step in the beginning and drain the tofu once it's in cube form.

Another technique is "crumbling" the firm tofu, best if it has been frozen first. It's a great substitute for chopped meat. Mix into chili seasonings or with other sauces as a filling for a wrap sandwich or fajita.



Marinating

It's easy to marinate the tofu by placing drained tofu in a container and generously covering the pieces. Allow them to marinate for 30 minutes or longer prior to cooking.

Cooking

A nice option is to take the marinated tofu and place it on a grill. One of the new indoor grill plates is a very simple option.


Perhaps the most familiar preparation method is stir-frying or sautéing tofu. It's wise to cook the vegetables and tofu separately so that you don't break up the tofu. Then after you've cooked them both, you can add them together in a single pan and add your sauce.