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Tasty Tofu Recipes.

My 11 year old daughter has taken a recent liking to Tofu. While I enjoy tofu at a number of Asian Restaurants, I find too many of the recipes out there, especially in vegetarian cookbooks, to be bland and aggressively healthy.

Any suggestions on tasty recipes, no need for them to be vegan or even vegetarian. Want to cut back on our meat consumption not eliminate it.

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  1. Cube it, bread it, fry or bake.

    I like to slice it, dump on bbq sauce and bake till they get a little chewy.

    Make mock egg salad. Tons of recipes out there andcso yummy on crackers etc,

      1. I tend to press, cube and breifly marinade before frying (a little soy sauce and hot sauce to eliminate the bland factor), then dress with satay-style sauces made with almond butter or blitzed cashews. I'm also partial to tofu in thai curry sauces (prefer red curry or a thick dry red panang over green or yellow), using tofu in noodles (pad thai), which you can combine with meat or seafood, ma po tofu, which is made with ground pork as well.

        My tofu preparation tends to fall into the "has nutritional value" rather than the "low cal, low fat" definition of healthy. Enjoy!

        1. Agedashi tofu - crispy silken tofu with soy dashi
          Mapo tofu - spicy Sichuan braised tofu
          Taho - silken tofu pudding with brown sugar syrup and sago pearls
          Vietnamese tofu chips - thinly sliced, fried firm tofu pockets with nuoc mam and herbs
          Saag tofu - saag paneer with tofu substituted
          Linguafood's magical microwave tofu has also been a favorite for years: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7273...

          3 Replies
            1. re: JungMann

              Agedashi tofu and Mapo tofu are two of my favourite tofu dishes, and they fit into the "non-healthy" category too!

              I looked up linguafood's microwave tofu and realize I like to do a similar version too, with anything on hand, usually including bonito flakes and dashi (from powder).

              Also to the OP: if you and your dd feel ready to be more adventurous, I recommend you consider trying the Taiwanese (I believe) style of preparation, that involves the black and pungent thousand-year preserved eggs:

              (picture but no recipe)

              You basically cut up the eggs and tofu, arrange on plate and drizzle with soy sauce or some version of the sauce in linguafood's recipe, and garnish with scallion, parsley and the like. My dd and I fight over that.

              I am getting really hungry now ;-)

              1. re: vil

                One of our local Chinese restaurants does the preserved egg and tofu dish, I love it not sure how my daughter will take to it. Also our local Chinese Markets does have the preserved eggs.

            2. Not a recipe but...

              I learned from a nice Vietnamese lady to always boil my tofu first. Just put the whole square, or cut to fit the pan, in boiling water for 15 minutes. Firms it up a lot and also makes frying, sautéing much easier as it doesn't leach liquid. More effective than pressing with paper towels. And the texture is more pleasant than frozen tofu IMO

              1 Reply
              1. re: youareabunny

                Similarly, in Sichuan cooking, the tofu is often boiled in a mixture of dark soy sauce and water to give it some color and flavor before stir frying. Tofu is also delicious with ground pork and lots of Chinese dishes use both tofu and meat together with yummy results!

              2. Tasty tofu??, kind of an oxymoron!

                3 Replies
                1. re: treb

                  You haven't tried the different kinds there are out there, then. Even the neutral "bland" tofus are tasty, they take on whatever flavors of surrounding ingredients. It all boils down to using the proper type of tofu for the dish or application.

                  1. re: treb

                    I was on a trip to Okinawa a few years ago, and the best dish I had there (of a wide variety of delicious foods) was a tofu dish.

                    Home-made soft tofu, stir fried with cabbage, a bit of bean sprouts and shredded carrots, tiny cubes of potatoes, and bits of the local pork. It was amazing!

                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                      Reminds me of the most memorable tofu experience I have had. Years back I was in Kyoto visiting a friend, she brought me to a temple that served freshly made-tofu. The cubes of tofu were served hot and out of a wooden bucket, in some light broth. No elaborate garnishes or seasoning, and what shines was simply the aroma of the freshly made tofu (soy beans), and the silken texture. We sat on the stone benches while enjoying the pure pleasure.

                      IMO, the appreciation of the delicate aroma of fresh tofu (or soy milk, in a similar way) might be something that needs to be acquired, if one did not grow up with it ;-)

                  2. If you can get tofu ground round in your area, it's a great ground beef substitute:



                    Depends what types of dishes you cook or your daughter likes. There are a myriad of tofus from compressed firm marinated ones to very soft & silky ones, puffy ones, fried ones, tofu "noodles", etc.

                    Hit a large Chinese or Asian supermarket and check out the different types. It's one of the most versatile foods there is out there. I cook with tofus A LOT, feel free to ask or PM me on your questions ;-)

                    1. If you freeze the extra firm tofu before using it, and then defrost it and squeeze it a bit to dry it out, it gets the texture of ground meat. You can use it in pretty much any recipe where you've used hamburger. Or you can mix half tofu and half ground beef, if you prefer.

                      It works really well in things like spaghetti sauce, stuffed peppers, sloppy joes, etc.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: mwk

                        Thanks for the tip :-) I'll try that next time.

                        Yeah, the ground bits work well in spag sauces, chilis and other applications that usually call for ground beef. I've fooled many people at office and home potlucks with my faux bolognese sauce or chilis. For hamburgers I do a 50:50 meat-to-ground soy mix.

                        1. Just cut it into blocks and top it with grated fresh ginger, dried bonito flakes (katsuoboshi) and minced green onions, then drizzle a little soy sauce on it. Serve w/ hot rice.

                          1. Mapo Tofu is the antithesis of "bland" and "aggressively healthy." Properly made, it's loaded with chiles, Sichuan pepper, oil, some ground beef or pork, and salty components. My favorite tofu dish by far.

                            Sundubu Jigae is another wonderful Asian (in this case, Korean) tofu dish. Again, plenty of salty components. Packed with umami. Neither bland nor aggressively healthy.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: LorenzoGA

                              Sundobu was what I had for lunch today and Mapo Tofu is one of a number of Chinese dishes that I enjoy. I am hoping for additional ideas on using it.

                              @Jungmann thanks for linking to the older thread that had some interesting information

                              @mvk what a great idea that opens up all types of uses.

                              1. re: chazzer

                                Okay. You didn't mention in your original post any tofu recipes that you were already familiar with that you did not find "bland and aggressively healthy." We can only respond based on what you've told us!

                            2. After several blah recipes using tofu, I now use this one. I usually double the sauce, add eggplant and shitake mushrooms and serve over rice, but it's good just the way it is written.


                              1. Crumbled and pressed dried firm tofu makes a nice faux-egg salad. Also crumbled but cooked dry tofu makes an excellent taco, or enchilada filling, and faux-sloppy joes.

                                1. I love this baked Tofu with Lemon, Soy, White Wine, and Butter Sauce from the Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley. I flip the tofu over in the sauce after it comes out of the oven, before reducing the sauce on the stove.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                    I strongly second this recipe. I love pretty much all Asian tofu preparations, but this is a different and elegant way to serve it. This sold my previously tofu-hating husband on tofu.

                                    If you happen to have a Vietnamese cookbook (or access to any Viet. recipes) you can pretty much sub tofu for whatever protein is in them. The fish sauce will do the rest.

                                  2. This seriously simple recipe from mark bittman is amazing-i wait until everyone is finished to say it has tofu- even my picky meat and potatoes parents love it:

                                    1. My absolutely favorite Chinese tofu recipe. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo.... I often make it with half the ground pork the recipe calls for. Tons of flavor. Serve with steamed rice and a veggie and you have a very quick meal (no need to freshen up the tofu by parboiling unless you want to or the tofu is on the old side). IA also will often put in more ginger and garlic.

                                      1. I'm completely in love with this Ottolenghi black pepper tofu recipe: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandsty...

                                        When I first suggested making it my husband thought it might be nicer made with beef but I stuck to my guns and he loved it! I always make Ottolenghi chargrilled broccoli on the side, smacked cucumber, steamed basmati rice and it's a quick, healthy show-stopper.

                                        My 4 year old loves tofu! I keep a bit of the fried tofu aside, the black pepper and chilli is too much for him but he loves it dipped in a bit of soy with the broccoli and rice.

                                        I agree on the pressing, it really makes a difference. Since moving to the US, TJ's extra-firm is my tofu of choice.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: helen_m

                                          TJ's has a "high protein" tofu (that isn't much different from the firm in protein) but it is sealed in vacuum plastic- not the bin in water- and it doesn't even need pressing! Its super dense and same flavor as firm

                                        2. Ma po tofu is very good, and definitely not bland! It's cooked with pork and chili and fermented bean curd. (It's also definitely not vegetarian).

                                          Chinese hot and sour soup with silken tofu cubes - can be vegetarian or not, definitely not bland.

                                          1. 1. Stir fry cubed Tofu+ground pork/chicken/turkey+cream style corn
                                            2. Ground Tofu+ground meat/fish+raw eggs mix well then steam in a loaf pan.

                                            1. As an aside - I like tofu in general, but I vastly prefer it when it's cooked as tofu, not as an inferior meat substitute. I find that it doesn't taste like meat, doesn't have the texture of meat, and doesn't cook like meat, so using it in place of meat rarely works well.

                                              There's a type of tofu that is frozen and then thawed, which makes it a bit porus and chewy, and is very good in soups or hot pot - it's called thousand layer tofu in Chinese. The taste is mild, but the texture is very nice.

                                              Actually, hot pot is good for tofu - start with a light broth in a pot in the middle of the table, and have thinly sliced meat, cabbage, mushrooms, various types of tofu, dumplings, green leafy vegetables, cut green beans, chunks of corn on the cob, etc, and cook them in the broth. Let people make their own dipping sauce out of a combo of soy/vinegar/garlic/chili paste/cilantro/chopped green onion as desired. (Google shabu-shabu for ideas).

                                              There's also dou hua - it's a slightly sweet tofu custard that's eaten as a desert.

                                              1. Chorizo made from tofu is really good. I especially like Deborah Madison's This Can't be Tofu cookbook. There is a soy chorizo in there as well.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                  I hops she doesnt add "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" margarine. ;-)

                                                2. Let it marinate in a fermented brine solution (preferably spoiled soybean milk) for a couple of hours. Then deep-fry and serve with some soy sauce and minced garlic.

                                                  The words "bland" and "tofu" will never cross your lips as an adjective and noun pairing again.

                                                  Just warn the neighbors first.

                                                  And your daughter.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                    This may be beyond what I was thinking of doing, but thanks for the suggestion.

                                                  2. If you can find it where you are, thanks to the relatively recent North American release of Fuschia Dunlop's 'Every Grain Of Rice' (extensively discussed in other threads), I'm now in love with tofu bamboo. The Red-Braised Beef withTofu Bamboo is delicious. It cannot possibly be described as bland!

                                                    It's a completely different texture, but fun if your daughter wants to try another version.

                                                    +1 on the Mapo Tofu suggestions as well, I make it regularly.

                                                    1. I cube it, pat dry, roll in cornstarch and favored flavored herbs and saute it - crunchy tofu tots. cooking oil depends on the flavor profile sought. usually just cheap vegetable, sometimes olive or with a dash of sesame.

                                                      1. I you can find smoked tofu, cube it, stir fry with celery, garlic, onions, a dash of light soy and shioshing wine....yummmmmm. Pepper corns, Sichuan pepper corns, or pepper flakes can be added!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: jill kibler

                                                          Smoked tofu is not a problem for us to find, we have good Asian Markets by us with a nice selection of Tofu.

                                                        2. This might sound boring and simple, but it is tasty. During my last pregnacy I loved BBQ tofu sandwiches. I would slice up a block of tofu sprinkle with onion, garlic powder, salt and pepp maybe some nutritional yeast if I had it. Then brown up slices till very brown and crispy around the edges. Then pour home made or store bought BBQ sauce all over it. Serve on a bun with a side of coleslaw and potato wedges. I usually ate the sandwich with chips as it was quicker and the baby really wanted that sandwich fast.:)
                                                          It's not fancy, but very good.
                                                          Tofu scramble is good too.
                                                          Crumbled tofu chopped potatoes mushrooms red peppers kale or spinach cumin onion garlic chili flakes brown it all in olive oil serve in corn tortilla with salsa very tasty.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: itsmejessica

                                                            I made a great scramble with bok choy from this bittman recipe last week- was a great "dinner" scramble

                                                          2. Just tonight I improvised a fridge clean-out that was tasty and satisfying. I hadn't cooked with tofu for many months, and will repeat something like this much sooner.

                                                            Marinate half-inch cubes of extra-firm tofu in a mix of tamari, hoisin sauce, hot pepper sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and a little sugar.

                                                            I had on hand previously steamed and peeled 3/4-inch chunks of kabocha squash, plus the last of a batch of baby-ish kale, some chicken stock, and a half scallion, plus newly-harvested local ginger (wonderful, thin-skinned and juicy, but doesn't last well in the fridge).

                                                            Minced some ginger, thinly sliced a clove of garlic, tore up the kale, heated the chicken stock to a simmer then let cool, sliced the scallion into rings, and dissolved a teaspoon of cornstarch in a tablespoon of cool water in a measuring cup.

                                                            Then stir-fried in a skillet: first the ginger and garlic, shortly added the kale, stir-frying until wilted, then in with the squash. Once it seemed warmed and coated, added the tofu. Added remaining marinade (most absorbed in tofu) to the chicken stock, mixed that with the cornstarch slurry, and poured it into the pan. Stirred until sauce thickened a little and tofu was well warmed. Added scallions, stirred once, and served over rice.

                                                            1. I've been making this Deborah Madison marinated tofu for years - requires planning ahead, but tastes great, especially grilled.
                                                              And I'm glad to see she has a tofu cookbook!
                                                              My favorite is this one
                                                              I add almost twice the black bean sauce cause I like it!
                                                              I also prefer fresh tofu from an asian market