Everything you need to know about cooking tofu

By Sang Kim
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Cooking with tofu can be a daunting and tricky task. The ancient Chinese “bean curd” is often used as a substitute for meat and fish and Westerners have adopted it, especially with the rise of vegan and vegetarian diets.

So how can we incorporate tofu into our diet? First, you need to understand exactly what it is.

There are four basic types of tofu:

  • Silken
  • Soft or regular
  • Firm
  • Extra firm

The difference between these four types is its texture (the water content of the tofu) and this determines its best uses. For example, soft or regular tofu is good for soaking up flavours in sauces, while firm tofu is good for stir-frying.

Many people struggle to incorporate tofu into their meals. Finding the texture and blandness of the food difficult to transform. However, these characteristics make tofu an extremely versatile ingredient which can be easily prepared in many ways.

Chef Sang Kim recently dropped by The Social to share some of his recipes!

SERVES
2
TOTAL TIME

Ingredients

Tofu-avocado gratin

  • 567 gram package silken tofu, drained
  • 3 tablespoons (45 milliliters) sesame paste
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) koji or aka miso
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) mushroom soup stock granules (sometimes labelled mushroom seasoning or granulated mushroom bouillon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 milliliters) soy sauce
  • Fine sea salt + ground white pepper
  • 1 firm-ripe avocado cut in 16 pieces

Garnish

  • Asian hot chilli sesame oil
  • Fried onion
  • Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

Mongolian tofu

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch, divided in two parts
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 453 grams package extra firm tofu, drained, towel dried
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots

Directions

Tofu-avocado gratin

  1. Set aside one quarter tofu block to drain. Wrap in paper towels and place in sealed container. To get firmer texture, refrigerate at least two hours to overnight. Drain; cut into six pieces.
  2. In medium bowl using immersion or hand blender, combine remaining tofu, sesame paste, miso, mushroom seasoning and soy sauce. Blend until smooth. Taste; season with salt, if desired, and pepper.
  3. Place six tofu pieces and avocado in shallow, ovenproof dish. Cover with tofu purée. Stir gently.
  4. Bake uncovered in preheated 350F (180C) oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top and warm throughout.
  5. Serve drizzled with chili oil, sprinkled with onion, and parsley or cilantro.

Mongolian tofu

  1. Cut the tofu into cubes
  2. Mix together the first eight ingredients in a bowl to make the sauce, using only half of the corn starch
  3. Toss the remaining corn starch in with the tofu cubes in a separate bowl
  4. Add vegetable oil to a skillet.
  5. On medium-high heat, add tofu and sauté until the tofu is crisp on all sides, about four to five minutes
  6. Add the sauce with scallions and carrots and sauté all of it for another three to four minutes until sauce thickens and the scallions are tender, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve over steamed rice or on a share platter.

The Social

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