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May 4, 2009 05:40 PM

Help with tofu

I'm going to be cooking supper at the local Salvation Army (inspired by another Chowhound) once a week for the next few weeks. They have asked that I make a tofu dish for approximatly 200 people. The house cook has never worked with tofu and they figure that since I'm a chef... Now I've never worked all that much with tofu. I am also looking for something that will appeal to your average Canadian. Recipes welcome, or just idea's.

Thank you all.

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  1. Tofu is more platable for non-eaters of it when it has a lot of texture. There are four ways to increase the texture:

    1 - pressing for an hour
    2 - boiling for about 5 minutes (cube first)
    3 - deep frying cubes
    4 - freezing

    When the tofu is ready, it benefits greatly with a marinade.

    To better provide recipes, could you please list some of the ingredients you have to work with (or can I assume that you'll have shoyu, vinegars, coconut milk etc?) I'd likely go with a sweet and sour, peanut, or thai coconut mixture.

    1. I'd suggest making a big pot of soon tofu (soup). There's a recipe on this site but I haven't tried it. Hopefully someone can post links to other good recipes (paging hannaone).

      I've had soon tofu made with chicken rather than pork or beef; lighter and probably less expensive. One of the great anticipations is being served this soup literally just simmering in a stone bowl (not that you have those available, but you get the idea :-).

      9 Replies
      1. re: DiveFan

        This recipe for soondubu jjigae from "My Korean Kitchen" is pretty good:

        But soon dubu for 200 could be a royal pain.

        I'll post a few tofu recipes to give the op some ideas to play with

        1. re: hannaone

          Golden Fried Tofu

          2 pounds firm tofu
          1 1/2 tablespoon Sesame cooking oil

          Coating Mix
          1/4 cup flour
          1/4 cup sweet rice flour
          1/4 cup cornstarch
          1 teaspoon black pepper
          1 teaspoon salt
          1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic or garlic powder
          1 sheet pressed seaweed (nori)
          1/2 teaspoon fine ground red chili powder

          Optional Toppings



          2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
          2 tablespoons water
          1 teaspoon toasted/roasted sesame oil
          1 teaspoon sugar
          1 teaspoon rice wine or seasoned vinegar


          Chopped Chives
          Chopped Green/Spring Onion
          Toasted Sesame seed



          Coating Mix
          Crumble the seaweed sheet into small flakes.
          Mix all coating ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

          Rinse well in cold water. Set tofu on a clean lint free kitchen towel and place a weight (juice or soup can in a plate) on top. Let stand for 20 minutes.
          Cut into roughly 3/4 inch cubes.
          Thoroughly coat tofu cubes with coating mix.


          Lightly coat a flat fry pan with oil and heat over medium high for one minute.
          Place a single layer of coated tofu cubes in the pan and fry until golden brown on all sides.
          Repeat until all tofu is cooked.

          Serve hot drizzled with butter or honey as a snack, or room temperature, garnished with chopped chives or green onion and a sweetened soy dipping sauce as a Ban Chan dish.

        2. re: DiveFan

          Dubuseon 두부선- Fancy Steamed Tofu
          Alternate Spelling: Dubu Seon, doobooseon, dooboo seon, tubuseon, tubu seon


          1 block water packed bean curd (dubu/tofu)
          6 ounces ground beef or chicken
          2 eggs

          Seasoning Mix
          2 teaspoon salt
          1 teaspoon sugar
          2 scallions or spring onions
          4 cloves garlic
          1 teaspoon sesame oil
          1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
          1/4 teaspoon black pepper

          Mustard Vinegar Sauce (gyeoja-chojang 겨자초장):
          5 tablespoons mustard powder
          2 1/2 tablespoons warm water
          1 tablespoon pine nuts
          3 tablespoons sugar
          3 tablespoons vinegar
          1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
          1/4 small Korean (asian/nashi) pear
          1/3 teaspoon citron honey concentrate

          Garnish (gomyeong 고명):
          1 egg
          2 pyogo (shiitake) mushrooms
          4 seogi mushrooms (석이버섯 manna lichen, stone ear)
          1 teaspoon pine nuts
          2 Korean chili peppers



          Seasoning Mix:
          Fine chop the scallion/spring onion and mince the garlic.
          Mix all ingredients together and let stand 15 minutes.

          Press the Tofu:
          Place tofu on a clean, lint free kitchen towel, and place a second towel on top of the tofu.
          Place a weight (small plate with a 16 - 20 ounce can of xxx) on top of the tofu, and let drain for about 45 minutes.
          Place drained tofu into a mixing bowl and mash.

          Place ground beef/chicken into a mixing bowl and add seasoning mix.
          Mix well, then let stand 15 minutes.

          Soak dried pyogo mushrooms in cold water for about 24 hours.
          Thin slice the pyogo and seogi mushrooms.

          Separate the egg yolk from the white and whip each.
          Pan-fry the yolk until lightly browned on both sides, let cool, then slice into about 1/4 inch wide strips. cut the strips into about 1 inch lengths.
          Repeat with egg white.

          Slice the Korean chili pepper into thin slivers about 1 inch long.

          Pine Nuts:
          Cut pine nuts in half.

          Mustard Vinegar Sauce:
          Mix the warm water and the mustard powder together and let stand for 15 minutes for flavor to develop.
          Using a mortar and pestle, mash the pear (or toss into a blender with one or two teaspoons water).
          Rough chop the pine nuts.
          Mix all ingredients together and let stand for at least 20 minutes.

          Add the mashed dubu(tofu) and eggs to the seasoned meat and mix well.
          Place wet cheese cloth in a steamer tray and spread the tofu/egg/meat mix in an even layer (about 1/3 inch deep).
          Place the mushrooms, egg strips, slivered peppers, and pine nuts on top of the bean curd, then steam over high heat for 10 minutes.
          Let it cool, cut into roughly 1 inch squares, and serve with mustard sauce

            1. re: pikawicca

              It's pretty good.
              Here is a pic of one version of this dish -


              1. re: hannaone

                Very pretty. I'm going to have to try this.

          1. re: DiveFan

            Spicy Fried and Simmered Tofu

            1 pound firm tofu (or 1 nearest size container)
            cooking oil (vegetable or blended soy bean/sesame oil)

            Simmer Sauce
            1/4 cup soy sauce
            1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
            1 tablespoon sugar (or 1/2 teaspoon sugar substitute)
            6 cloves peeled garlic
            2 1/2 tablespoon fine or medium ground red chile pepper

            2 green onions, thinly sliced
            1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
            1 fresh red chili or jalapeño pepper


            Drain tofu for about 20 minutes.
            Cut into roughly 1/2 inch thick slices and pat each slice dry with paper towel.

            Mix Simmer Sauce
            Place soy sauce and garlic into a blender and blend into a smooth liquid.
            Add all sauce ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and mix well.

            Trim top and bottom of the green onions, and remove any wilted/brown stems.
            Fine chop the onion.
            Remove stem from pepper, wash, and cut into fine slivers.


            Pre heat a large skillet/pan lightly coated with cooking oil.
            Add the tofu and fry until lightly browned (about 2 to 3 minutes)
            Gently turn and brown the other side.
            Remove tofu from skillet/pan.
            Pour simmer sauce into pan and bring to a light boil over high heat.
            Reduce heat to low and gently add fried tofu.
            Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, occasionally spooning the sauce over the tofu.

            Garnish with green onion, pepper, and toasted sesame seed.

            1. re: DiveFan

              두부전 Dubujeon - Pan-fried Tofu
              Servings: 4


              1 pound block medium or firm tofu
              Egg Batter
              Flour Dredge Mix
              vegetable oil for frying

              Egg Batter
              2 eggs
              2 cloves garlic
              2 green onions
              1/4 teaspoon salt

              Flour Dredge Mix
              1/4 cup flour
              1 tablespoon rice flour
              1 tablespoon potato starch

              2 teaspoons soy sauce
              1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
              1 1/2 teaspoon Korean chili pepper powder (use more or less to taste)
              1 small green or spring onion
              1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds


              Press the Tofu:
              Place tofu on a clean, lint free kitchen towel, and place a second towel on top of the tofu.
              Place a weight (small plate with a 16 - 20 ounce can of xxx) on top of the tofu, and let drain for about 45 minutes.
              Slice the tofu in half lenthwise, then slice each half into 6 pieces.
              Egg Batter
              Fine chop the green onion.
              Mince the garlic.
              Whip the chopped onion, minced garlic, and salt into the eggs.
              Fine chop the green/spring onion.
              Combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well.

              Lightly oil a frying pan and heat over medium heat.
              Dredge the tofu slices in the flour mix, then dip in the egg mixture and place them in the pan.
              Cook until golden brown on one side, flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.
              Pour remaing egg mixture into the pan and spread in a thin layer.
              Cook until lightly browned then flip and finish the other side.
              Slice the egg into thin strips and garnish the tofu.
              Drizzle with the sauce and serve.

            2. Agreed about lots of texture. Frying seems to please the highest percentage of hesitant eaters.

              Buy extra firm, with lowest water content

              Don't buy the pre-fried; it's just not as good.

              I'd watch a few of these vids:

              and plan a robust dish with lots of umami. For example: fried tofu cutlets served like small medallion steaks, draped with a sauce of peanut butter and dark sesame oil, garlic, etc.

              I've tried for many years to introduce people to tofu, and have found that the closer it is to a piece of meat that can be eaten with a knife and fork, the better it is received by newbies. For tofu lovers who want to use chopsticks it's a whole better game.


              God forbid I hope you're not being asked to serve this to the assembled members of the Red Green Lodge. Good luck.

              1. Good for you for volunteering!

                The tofu with lemon, soy, ginger, butter and white wine from Berley's Flexitarian Table is my go to tofu dish. It's pretty easy and everyone loves it. I don't know how hard it would be to prepare for 200, but it sure is delcious. Here's a paraphrase


                1 Reply
                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  You can always fry it up with some veggies (zucchini, peppers, onions, mushrooms) and a few packages of Mexican type seasonings and serve with tortillas and sour cream

                2. wow, cooking for 200 and trying to appeal to the 'average' Canadian can be a bit tricky - tho must say that I think Cdns are a pretty open-minded bunch gastronomically speaking. as much as I love spice, I'd stay with tamer dishes for broader appeal, and to make it less labour-intensive for yourself dispense with dishes that require a lot of advance prep ie. pre frying the tofu which can be very time-consuming (i do this every two weeks when my tofu is about to go bad and I can't stand how long it takes to fry up).

                  I'd recommend Ma Po Tofu, which is very easy and has always been a hit when I've made it for a crowd - good by itself or over rice, you can adjust the heat and play with the flavours: make it sweet, sour, hot, more-or-less-soy-ish - here are several takes on the dish:



                  you can also find recipes elsewhere on chowhound: