Though bland, tofu blots up the flavour of sauces, dressing and soups. It's packed with protein, so a great alternative when meat is not on the menu.
There are two forms of tofu: firm tofu comes vacuum-packed in blocks or or fresh. It's used in cooked dishes, for stir-frying, braising and poaching. Smoking firm tofu adds flavour. It can also be bought in blocks, tanned to a russet brown.
The softer silken tofu comes in cartons, or fresh, and is good for using in soups. It's made from thicker soya milk and the excess liquid isn't drained.
Tofu may be kept in the fridge for up to five days, as long as the water is changed daily.
If tofu is stored in water, you'll need to get rid of all the moisture before frying. Press the cakes of tofu for about an hour. Place between two boards, or wrap first, then weight down with something heavy.
1. Adds small cubes of tofu to miso soup or a Thai curry
2. Lightly sear slices or cubes of firm tofu in a non-stick pan. Or coat thick slices of firm or pressed tofu with cornflour just before frying, then deep-fry in hot sunflower or peanut oil until crisp and golden. Drain and serve immediately.
Either way, top with shreds of ginger and spring onio n and sprinkle with soy sauce and sesame oil.
If you like, add a dash of Chinese black vinegar and a little chilli oil. Or serve with a dipping sauce: 3/4 cup dashi broth, 3 T soya sauce and 3 T mirin, brought to a simmer, then cooled.
3. Add tofu to vegetable stir-fries. Blanch a 500g mix of cut vegetables in salted boiling water for a few minutes. Drain well. Deep-fry cupes of firm or pressed tofu in hot peanut oil, remove and drain.
Pour off the oil, leaving about 1 T of chopped garlic and 2 - 3 T chopped spring onions. Stir-fry briefly. Add vegetables, 1 T of dry sherry, 3 T water or stock. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the fried tofu. Heat through, sprinkle with sesame oil and season to taste.
4. Make tofu mayonnaise: blend 200g tofu with 1/4 cup peanut oil, 2 T sesame oil, 1 t soy sauce, 1 crushed clove garlic, 1 chunk peeled and grated ginger, and salt to taste.
MORE GREAT TOFU RECIPES TO TRY
Crispy pressed tofu with assorted mushrooms and wilted Asian greens
Macadamia-nut crusted tofu with greens and grapefruit cream
Avocado tofu pate
Chinese noodles in vegetable broth with crispy tofu
Stir-fry asparagus and tofu on brown rice