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It's a white block of stuff, Do I have to kill it before I eat it?

1
1 wiener hound Mar 21, 2007 07:53 PM

I find myself on a restricted weight management plan. Having been a carnivore all my life the green grocer section of the supermarket has not been my favorite area. But when I passed through I would see a white block of stuff that gave to the touch but looks totally bland. I understand there are members of our society who actually eat this stuff, I call on those Chowhounds who have tackled the white block and have learned how to cook it so that it is delicious to please tell how to cook this stuffcalled tofu I will need the most elemental instructions and reciepes.

  1. a
    another_adam Mar 27, 2007 07:51 PM

    I second the rec for Korean preps, which might be spicy/strongly enough flavored that you don't feel like you're eating something that you might otherwise have just used meat in.

    Korean tofu stew (dubu jjigae) or tofu soup (sundubu) are both good bets. There have been some threads recently on kimchi that include jjigae recipes. Sundubu involves getting the very softest possible tofu and putting into a soup made of pepper powder and broth (usually made from dried anchovy), along with an egg, maybe some seafood or kimchi. I don't think of this as particularly low in calories as a combination, but it is very spicy and you don't typically eat a very large portion.

    If you can have tuna, a good preparation is squares of tofu heated by dropping briefly in hot water, then removed and dried a little (blot quickly with a paper towel, it doesn't have to be totally dry) and slather with sauteed chopped kimchi and tuna combination on top.

    You might also look in the moosewood cookbooks in their tofu stew sections. An old trick many people recommend is freezing the extra firm tofu and unthawing it so it is more "spongy" and meatlike (?!?!?1) and absorbs more of the stew flavors...

    1 Reply
    1. re: another_adam
      k
      Kagey Mar 28, 2007 01:10 AM

      I love to eat kimchi with cubes of raw tofu (I'm lucky to have access to really good fresh tofu). I also like the tofu sprinkled with soy sauce and some finely chopped scallions as a snack.

      I also second the Moosewood suggestion; the recipes there are are really good. Also, Mollie Katzen of Moosewood has a really good website: http://www.molliekatzen.com/. You can find some good recipes here, but there's a particularly good one for tofu with gingered greens. The tofu marinade contains sugar, as do many Asian marinades, but you can leave it out with almost-as-good results. Good luck to the OP. I hope you have success with the weight loss this time around.

    2. 1
      1 wiener hound Mar 22, 2007 09:42 PM

      Guys,
      Thank you for all the suggestions. CH is such a wonderful resource. I love to try new things so it will be fun trying your suggestions. Not to sure about the wife thought she is of the mind that if it does not moo, oink, cluck, or swim she is not for it..

      1. m
        MakingSense Mar 22, 2007 08:52 PM

        Why do you have to eat tofu? You can eat lots of other things that you probably like that have no more calories - probably less by the time you add all the stuff you'll add to make tofu acceptable to you - and are just as healthy, such as chicken breast, fish and eggs.
        If you are on a diet with foods you hate, you'll have little chance of sticking to it. Find a plan that you can enjoy, built around healthy foods that please you. Life is too short to be miserable.

        4 Replies
        1. re: MakingSense
          1
          1 wiener hound Mar 26, 2007 10:15 AM

          MakingSense,
          As to why Tofu, It is another option out of fish, skinless bnless ck. breast, only the leanest beef, and turkery breast. I do like variety which I guess makes me a chowhound. Also I am trying this time to make this an eating life plan for life not beginning on a diet for a year and then going off and eating everything in sight that is not nailed down or rotten. Also in my sixth decade, I am beginning to take over the cooking responsibilies in the family. When I have had tofu on Chinese Buffets I was not too pleased with it, although when it is in Hot and Sour Soup it is OK. Let me restate that tofu is not something I have enjoyed in the past but I am open as never before to a new eating plan. I have never had home cooked tofu receipes before and now I am willing to try. Having been morbidly obese for over 40 years and having lost over a 100 lbs. on 3 separate ocassions in my life and then to only gain back more tham was lost, I am ready to get off the seesaw. This time I am trying to look for the end of the dietat the end of something but to start with new things for a different result. As to "Life is too short to be miserable" fortunately you must never been severely overweight because it is miserable and it will shorten that miserable life. This is not being said to start a flame war but to state how I feel. As to the plan I am on I am under medical supervision and have only been with it for two weeks and I can already tell difference in my body getting smaller and I have never felt that before so quickly and have lost 19 lbs in 2 weeks. Thanks be to God!

          1. re: 1 wiener hound
            d
            Diana Mar 26, 2007 11:16 AM

            You can get protien from tofu. If you are doing a lifestyle change, also think about getting protien from other legume and lentil sources.

            Beans and lentils are tasty and versatile. Dried, canned, fermented, baked, sauteed, steamed, boiled, in a stew or soup or hotpot or salad, toasted, mashed into paste, molded into a loaf.

            There are abillion things you can do with beans and legumes!

            I love em!

            1. re: Diana
              1
              1 wiener hound Mar 27, 2007 07:23 PM

              Diana,
              When I get to the maintenance portion I hope that beans and legumes will be allowed because they have always been a favorite. When I can have beans let the fun begin.

            2. re: 1 wiener hound
              Adrienne Mar 26, 2007 02:47 PM

              My impression was that MakingSense meant that if you choose healthy things which you don't hate, it will probably make for a more sustainable diet, which I agree with -- but I also really appreciate your candor in sharing your goals with us and admire your willingness to try new things at this point in your life. It sounds like you have a lot of determination and focus and I hope this new plan is the one that works for you!

          2. d
            Diana Mar 22, 2007 12:06 PM

            Keep in mind that while tofu has less fat, it can have substantial calories depending upon it's firmness and how you cook it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Diana
              MikeG Mar 22, 2007 07:44 PM

              "Keep in mind that while tofu has less fat"

              Not particularly that, even. Nearly half the calories in it come from fat and the protein content is low (compared to meat.).Tofu may be "health food," but it's certainly not "diet food."

            2. a
              atomic Mar 22, 2007 10:54 AM

              I prefer Nigiri tofu, it's firmer than other types of tofu due to calcium (CaCl2) used in preparation. Marinate it for a long time in lots of flavorful things, then grill, pan-fry or bake. Once you get over the texture, you can create any flavor you desire.

              I generally use lots of lime juice, chili paste, tamari, ginger and garlic.

              Mushrooms are great for adding a meaty flavor.

              1. h
                Hungry Celeste Mar 22, 2007 10:17 AM

                Ma po tofu. Use turkey instead of pork to lighten it up a bit. The firm stuff's not so bad when marinated in soy & lightly grilled, brushed with teriyaki.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Hungry Celeste
                  Candice Mar 22, 2007 02:06 PM

                  I love ma po tofu too, it's a good way to get non-tofu eaters to try it. Ground chicken or turkey works fine. I usually use 2 sauce packets and more meat then called for and cut the tofu a bit smaller to blend it in more, and sliced green onions on top. I use the hot variety of House brand of sauce that you can buy at any Asian market and some grocery stores. It's my back-up, I'm suepr busy dinner.
                  Here's a picture of the mild variety.
                  http://www.house-foods.com/mabotofu_m...

                  1. re: Hungry Celeste
                    c
                    cheryl_h Mar 22, 2007 02:35 PM

                    Another vote for Ma Po. I make it with and without meat, the meatless version is a little less rich and complex but still very tasty.

                    1. re: cheryl_h
                      v
                      Val Mar 22, 2007 04:30 PM

                      And yet another vote for ma po...but I prefer soft tofu for this dish, matters not...it's the best new food item I've tried in 2006 thanks to Mabziegurl's recipe on this board...I have tried it with ground turkey and as long as you soak the ground turkey in the soy sauce for a little while before browning, it's all good!

                  2. d
                    DingoWallaby Mar 22, 2007 10:13 AM

                    Have you tried some of the different kinds of tofu, perhaps that available at a local Asian market? I, too, find the white block stuff generally tasteless, but I do enjoy the dry tofus in stir fries.

                    1. v
                      Val Mar 22, 2007 10:10 AM

                      Marinating it and then searing it gives extra firm tofu a nice flavor and a more "meaty" appearance. Don't forget your other "meaty" friend in the produce aisle which is Portobello Mushroom Caps, also lovely marinated in balsamic dressing or vinaigrette and then grilled. There have also been recent discussions on portobellos on this board.

                      1. chowser Mar 22, 2007 10:02 AM

                        Other than traditional stir fry types and steamed (I even like it seasoned and baked), you can add it to spaghetti sauce, chili or anything where you'd use ground beef. Just use half beef or turkey and half tofu, extra firm, crumbled.

                        1. d
                          Diana Mar 22, 2007 09:51 AM

                          Me, I like to miz silken tofu with frozen fruit and yogurt and make a smoothie. Sometimes I do it with coffee powder and milk, or pumpkin, honey and cinnamon.

                          The great thing about tofu is that it takes on any flavor you cook or marinate or blend it with.

                          Cut it into slices,let it drain between paper towels for a bit, marinate it in ginger, garlic miso, sake, honey and mustard, then grill or bake it at 350 till done. YUM!

                          Or, get medium tofu and mix it up with your favorite mustard and dill, a little salt maybe, some green onion. Eggless egg salad, great as a sandwich or salad topper.

                          I also cook in in hot and sour soup.

                          Then you can marinate it in anything, bread it, and fry it up.

                          Mix it with gralic, onions, salt, pepper, tomatoes (or canned tomatoes, or your favirite tomato sauce), rice or barley or couscous. Stuff that into a red pepper and roast it in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until the pepper is cooked.

                          For dessert, beyond smoothies, you can blend silken tou with melted chocolate for a nice mousse like thing.

                          Be sure to get the right texture. I prefer medium for soups and stews, firm for grilling, baking, and brouiling (or extra-firm) and silken for desserts and smoothies.

                          1. Adrienne Mar 22, 2007 09:18 AM

                            I generally dislike tofu, but Wholefoods has one particular flavor of tofu I really enjoy... I want to say it's called Thai Chili something... it's a good gateway tofu if you are looking to bring more tofu into your life.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Adrienne
                              1
                              1 wiener hound Mar 22, 2007 09:33 PM

                              Adrienne, We do have a Whole Foods will have to go check it out.

                            2. l
                              Liana Krissoff Mar 22, 2007 09:16 AM

                              This curried tofu is a great way to prepare it: easy, quick (except for the squeezing/draining time), and quite satisfying: http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/s...

                              1. Aromatherapy Mar 22, 2007 05:36 AM

                                If you can get locally made, fresh tofu, it is so much better than supermarket. Still bland, though. Spicy Korean tofu soup preps? If you like very savory/spicy foods I think that's a better intro.

                                1. c
                                  cimui Mar 21, 2007 09:40 PM

                                  I guess Thai fried tofu triangles are out of your game? Those are pretty darn tasty. I don't know what your diet restricts, but I dare say that weight loss concerns probably wouldn't keep you from lean chicken prepared in healthy ways. It's just as healthy as tofu, depending on how you make it.

                                  That said, I LURVE grilled sesame tofu. My mom also added five spice to the mix when she made it for me as a kid. Here's an example of a recipe:

                                  http://www.epicurean.com/featured/gri...

                                  Beans--made into, say, hummus or white bean dip, or a good black bean soup--are also high in protein and low in fat.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cimui
                                    1
                                    1 wiener hound Mar 22, 2007 09:27 PM

                                    Yes I love chicken and the Geo. Forman Grill message board has some wonderful reciepes This is one of them. I just substitute chicken breast it was wonderful. You are right frying is out.
                                    Fire Burgers

                                    2 pounds of fresh ground beef
                                    1 large onion finely diced
                                    3 Tablespoons of minced garlic
                                    2 Tablespoons of spicy curry
                                    powder
                                    2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire
                                    sauce
                                    1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
                                    1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
                                    1/2 teaspoon of mustard powder
                                    salt and black pepper to taste

                                    Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl
                                    until thoroughly combined.

                                    Grease and preheat grill.

                                  2. Kitchen Queen Mar 21, 2007 09:28 PM

                                    To hopefully satisfy the carnivore in ya- Go by a bottle of vege. mushroom sauce (NO msg), a box of oyster mushrooms and a giant portabello. Slice the portobello thick saute shrooms in some EVOO along with small blocks of the white stuff. Pour the mushroom sauce over the whole thing and let it simmer some. Add tilapia if you can eat fish. It's actually quite good and the portobello help with the thickness of meat need. :) KQ Good Luck. P.S. Alos know that there is dessert tofu as well. I've seen and eaten almond and mango. Both are great to accompany fruits esp. on hot days.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Kitchen Queen
                                      1
                                      1 wiener hound Mar 22, 2007 09:22 PM

                                      Sounds good but I would need to check the veg. mushroom sauce. I am not allow any sugars. But I will still try to play with it I love the 'shrooms.

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