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Always boil tofu first..?

youareabunny Jan 6, 2013 09:02 PM

Just wanted to share what I learned at a Vietnamese vegan class at the library once.

The cook always boiled tofu for 15 minutes. Doesn't matter if she was baking, grilling, or frying it. She said she boils it then keeps it in the refrigerator til she needs it.

I have yet to grill tofu but by boiling it first the texture become more firm which I really like. Excellent baked or in stir fry.

Just a tip! I was always a big fan of tofu, even before becoming vegetarian. Maybe for some people who have not liked it, this may help a bit.

For reference I use firm tofu.

  1. r
    rubrifolia Jan 27, 2013 03:25 PM

    most definitely blanching tofu before cooking improves both the texture and the flavor. Andrea Nguyen's excellent tofu cookbook taught me this technique. Herbivoracious has a 'tofu 101' posting which also talks about the joy of blanched tofu

    1. Chemicalkinetics Jan 9, 2013 04:51 PM

      <boiling it first the texture become more firm >

      I think that's correct. It is just the heat. You probably notice when you cook tofu anyway. As you cook the tofu longer, it get firmer

      I actually don't boil tofu. Maybe because I usually use soft or silky tofu, and I want it to remain silky like. Thanks for the tip.

      1. s
        small h Jan 8, 2013 08:30 PM

        To give tofu more structural integrity, I slice it and freeze it on a baking sheet. The result is a chewier product that takes well to stir frying and grilling. Have you tried that yourself, and if so, is it different from boiling the tofu?

        7 Replies
        1. re: small h
          youareabunny Jan 9, 2013 12:24 PM

          I used to freeze too. It is slightly firmer when defrosted but grainier (im guessing from the ice puncturing the cells). Boiling it 15 minutes firms it up but with still a smooth texture.

          I prefer boiling now, but maybe if I was attempting tofu jerky then freezing would be better.

          1. re: youareabunny
            small h Jan 9, 2013 04:26 PM

            Interesting. I will definitely give it a try.

          2. re: small h
            youareabunny Jan 9, 2013 12:24 PM

            ^^^i mean when compared to boiled tofu, yes the frozen then defrosted tofu is firmer.

            1. re: small h
              westsidegal Jan 13, 2013 08:11 PM

              trader joe's sells a super firm high protein tofu.
              it is not the stuff that is packaged in a plastic tub.
              it is packaged in clear plastic.

              it is so firm that, even with no extra treatments, it holds it's shape when i make fajitas with it.

              1. re: westsidegal
                small h Jan 14, 2013 01:05 PM

                Thanks for the tip. I just picked some up today, and it is marinating as I type.

                1. re: westsidegal
                  youareabunny Jan 14, 2013 04:56 PM

                  I'm going to TJ tomorrow to pick up some soy chorizo and the "beef" pieces. Chorizo because I can't get the spices right on my own and I want to make carne asada with the beef stuff. I'll check out that tofu too, thanks :)

                  I am curious too re: calories/serving size in this tofu compared with other firm, extra firm, tofu.

                2. re: small h
                  dizzy5 Mar 3, 2013 03:35 PM

                  If the tofu is sliced (or cubed), then individually frozen, then defrosted and the defrosted liquid GENTLY squeezed out of it, the result will be a firm, satisfying, chewy texture that really stand up to, as you say, being battered about in a stir fry.

                3. n
                  ninrn Jan 8, 2013 12:02 AM

                  I've heard that, too. I was told boiling 3 or 4 minutes makes the tofu easier to digest.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ninrn
                    magiesmom Jan 8, 2013 07:11 PM

                    it doesn't fall apart?

                    1. re: magiesmom
                      youareabunny Jan 9, 2013 12:26 PM

                      It shouldn't. You just boil the whole block, or slice them in half.

                      If you are planning to fry/dry fry little squares of tofu, boil the full or half block first, then cut it into the pieces you want.

                      1. re: youareabunny
                        dizzy5 Mar 3, 2013 03:38 PM

                        Supposedly, with boiling, it will taste less "beany" which could be better if the tofu is meant for a sauce or "vegannaise" type recipe.

                      2. re: magiesmom
                        calumin Mar 13, 2013 02:30 PM

                        You can buy tofu that has different levels of firmness. Some boxes say "firm", some "medium" some "soft". If you want firm tofu, just buy the firm one instead of boiling medium-firm tofu.

                        There is a boiled tofu dish called yudofu which is essentially tofu hotpot. I use medium tofu for that - if you buy the firm one it is too cake like which is not nice.

                        If you try to boil soft tofu (kinugoshi) it will turn into very small pieces.

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