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Tofu Dishes For Someone Who Is Not Really Into Tofu

To my knowledge, I've never had tofu. It's not anything my family ever cooked and I've always avoided it like the plague. Something about a bland block of bean curd is unappealing to me.

BUT, I'm trying to cut my fat & cholesterol intake by cutting down on fatty meats (which I love:). I have read with interest on these threads rave reviews for Mapo Tofu which led me to buy a block of silken tofu that has been sitting in my refrigerator now for a week. Still have not got up the nerve to cook this stuff.

Any recommendations on tofu recipes I can try as a beginner that might convince me this is something I might eventually look forward to eating? It has to be something where the main focus is not the tofu, if that makes any sense. Not really wanting a big slab on a plate or huge chunks with nothing else in the dish. I don't mind the recipe being vegetarian. Thanks in advance!

Edited: No desserts please, thanks!

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  1. Rather than make Mapo Tofu, which requires ground meat, consider having the tofu in simple broth with some type of green vegetable, e.g., Mustard Greens, Shanghai Cabbage, Pea Shoot Tips, Watercress or Spinach.

    Dice into small cube and you won't even taste it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      Every Grain of Rice has vegetarian Mapo Tofu recipe. I have not tried it but it sounds good.

        1. re: herby

          This is my go to mapo tofu recipe. I think it's better than Dunlop's version in Sichuan Cookery.

        1. Silken tofu is not good as meat replacement in a recipe its meant for more of something like this http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Tofu-Cho...

          Tofu should be eaten very fresh and a week half is usually about the max you can use it so keep a eye on the exp date.

          Im not sure what type of food you are used to eating but if you are a chill type person I might try it in something like that where your not going to notice the texture as much but will benefit from the protein and lower fat count as you can do say a half meat half tofu chili. You will see it but can't taste it or even really feel the texture. I like a med firm for cooking usually. There is a really good smoked tofu too thats much firmer and can be used as a taco filling, patty filler..

          1 Reply
          1. re: daislander

            I heartily second the suggestion of using medium or firm tofu in conjunction with meat, so you'll have the flavor of the latter but not as much fat. If asked to describe the taste and texture, I'd say the closest is hardcooked egg whites. Blah. But if you saute or grill the tofu with some soy sauce (or teriyaki, or similar marinade) it will taste meaty and the crisp surface will also contribute savoriness.

            Another idea is to boil low-or-no-sodium chicken stock or meat stock down to a glaze, then cook the tofu in that, just to get a nice savory brown exterior. Have you had the Indian cheese, paneer? It's like a dry, firm ricotta and very tasty. But it looks like tofu and you can mix cubes of the two together in Indian dishes that call for paneer. The tofu will be flavored by the Indian spices in whatever sauce the dish entails.

          2. I like to marinate it in soy, lemon, EVOO and garlic and grill or broil it til crispy. I buy extra firm and put the block on a towel for an hour to drain.

            5 Replies
            1. re: phelana

              I cook it the same way, but no soy. Lemon, evoo, salt, pepper, frozen garlic and bail cubes. Sometimes i bake it in the marinade. It's delish

              1. re: phelana

                Definitely grill or broiled is great for tofu. I also like to sauté large cubes of it in oil and tamari, finished with a little sesame oil and chili flakes. Love getting it really crispy.

                Here are a few tofu recipes I know even non-veggies like:
                Grilled tofu and eggplant slices with cilantro peanut sauce
                Marinated and grilled BBQ tofu slices (serve with a ton of grilled veggies-peppers, corn,etc)
                Tofu rancheros
                Tofu in ginger carrot scallion broth

                1. re: charlesbois

                  Do you have a recipe or a source where I can obtain the ginger carrot scallion broth? That sounds good!

                  1. re: Cherylptw

                    No sorry, I tend to make stuff up on the fly with no recipes, sometimes based on meals I've had. But I googled it and found some interesting iterations including a miso based soup. I was thinking of some nice chicken or veg broth with small dice of ginger, carrots coins and finely chopped scallions. You could even throw in some garlic or mushroom or float some pickled radish on it. Little cubes of tofu boiled in it makes a nice soup.

                  2. re: charlesbois

                    and roll the (ahem extra-firm tofu) cubes in cornstarch before grilling - really punches up the exterior crust.

                2. in my vegetarian days i tried liking it and cooked it all sorts of ways.

                  at this point, it's less than fresh. chuck it and start cooking more fish. :)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I already consume fish, I'm looking for ways to cook tofu. The expiration date is March 3rd; I'll hang on to it, thanks.

                    1. re: Cherylptw

                      While that might be the expiration date for when the product is still safe to eat, the flavor of tofu declines rapidly as soon as its made. I buy it the same day it's produced and eat it within a day or two. When I hear people talk about how bland and flavorless they find tofu, it just tells me that they're eating stale product.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        I think the OP probably has some vacuum packed tofu. They seem to last for ages. But they don't taste anywhere close to the real thing bought in the fridge section of Asian grocers.