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Tofu is a great option for a vegan diet. It is made from soybeans and is high in protein and calcium. Tofu is wonderful to cook with since it absorbs flavors through spices and marinades. For hundreds of years, Tofu has been popular in Asian culture and is now becoming more and more popular with vegetarians in the United States. So just how do you prepare tofu?
Usually tofu is found in the produce section or the health food section of the grocery store and should be treated like a dairy product. Do not leave it standing at room temperature for more than two hours. Cooked or uncooked, tofu should be kept in the refrigerator.
Types of Tofu
Regular tofu is the most common and comes in a container stored in water. Regular tofu is usually used in stir fry, dishes where tofu is baked, and will maintain its shape. Silken tofu has a softer consistency and falls apart easily. Both types come in four different consistencies: soft, medium, firm and extra firm. Silken tofu is used in desserts, sauces, and dressings.
Vegetarian Cooking with Tofu
When cooking with regular tofu, review the recipe beforehand to see if it is necessary to drain. If it is not necessary to drain tofu, pat dry when removing from packaging but do not press the water out. Whenever you need tofu to retain its shape, you probably won’t press it. For stir fry recipes, tofu will need to be drained.
To drain tofu, place several paper towels or a dishtowel on the kitchen counter and lay tofu on top. Use another dishtowel to place over the tofu and put a cutting board on top. Gently press or if cutting board is heavy, let it sit to press the water out. This step can take about twenty to thirty minutes for water to drain completely out of the tofu.
After tofu is drained, it can now be cut or prepared according to the recipe’s directions. Applying additionally pressure to tofu will not speed this up. Give it some time, and you’ll have tofu that’s ready to be prepared.
Easy Ways to Prepare Tofu
To use tofu as a substitute for meat in stirfrys, after draining the tofu cut it in half inch cubes. Toss into a nonstick skillet or wok with a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Pour stirfry sauce over the tofu and cook together. Tofu will be done when it is slightly browned.
Tofu can be grilled on an inside grill and added to salads as a great and tasteful protein boost. Once you’ve drained it, slice the tofu in thin pieces and marinate in dressing for thirty minutes. Place on grill and cook until crispy.
To use tofu as a substitute for breaded meat (like tofu nuggets) do not drain the tofu. Slice to the appropriate shape and size and place in breading mixture. Fry it in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with a nonstick skillet until browned completely.
Although tofu may seem difficult or time consuming to prepare for new vegetarians but it really is easy to use. The way you cook and prepare tofu affects its taste in different ways. Tofu is great for dips and salad dressing as well as stir fries and desserts. It is a healthy alternative to meat and practically any recipe can be changed for tofu.
Tofu will also help lower calories in recipes. So if weight loss is important, tofu can help lower the daily caloric intake while still being able to eat favorite meals.