How to Cook Tofu
I know that many of my regular readers will be expert at cooking with tofu, but for me it is quite a new experience, so I thought I would document my efforts as I go.
Tofu is something I have avoided like the plague for years. I think I may have had it once and disliked it so much I decided it just wasn't for me. So what has made me change my mind, I hear you ask? Cooper, my baby. Still puzzled? It will soon make sense.
Cooper is now 18 weeks old, which means we will soon be starting on the whole weaning process. The Department of Health recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months. This is not a hard and fast rule and this baby of ours is growing fast as well as watching every bite we eat. I think he may be ready before the 6 month mark.
In anticipation of the big event, I purchased Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel, who is a bit of a legend when it comes to advice on feeding children.
So, I was toodling through the book very happily, enjoying all the recipes and colourful pictures (it is a recipe book after all), when I came to the section on introducing protein.
This baby of ours is going to be a vegetarian baby and so the recommended protein to introduce to his diet is tofu, which is high iron, potassium and calcium. Apparently babies are born with an store of iron that lasts approximately 6 months, after which the baby needs iron introduced into his diet. Between 6 months and 2 years is a vital time for brain development, so iron-rich food are very important.
Thinking it would be a bit hypocritical to introduce tofu to Cooper's diet when we avoid it like the plague, I decided to start sampling tofu when I was eating out. My first try was on my birthday, when we enjoyed a meal with friends at the Metro Brasserie in Dundee, one of our favourite places to eat. Graham and I both chose the Soba Noodles with Teriyaki Stir-Fry & Spiced Tofu. It was delicious, but Graham didn't enjoy the tofu and I thought it might have been better. I think the reason for this, was it was soft and a bit bland.
My second attempt on my quest to enjoy tofu, was one late night, when we were starving and the thought of cooking just didn't appeal. We took, a very rare trip to a local Chinese take-away and there on the menu I spotted dishes with tofu. Aha! I jiggled the menu around a bit and ordered sweet and sour vegetables with tofu and rice and it was just the ticket. Mmmmmmmmm! Gorgeous. This is exactly what I wanted from my tofu. Flavoursome and slightly chewy, much more appealing.
A visit to Matthew's Foods, (the oriental supermarket) later and I had all I needed for a Teriyaki Vegetable Stir-Fry with Tofu and Noodles.
I did a bit of research online to see how other people were cooking their tofu and came up with this technique and marinade.
1. Open your packet of tofu and drain away any excess liquid.
2. Slice the tofu into strips and then cut into triangles.
3. Place the triangles onto a clean, dry tea towel and gently squeeze out the moisture.
4. Fry the tofu in a dry pan until each side is golden brown.
5. Soak in a marinade for a few hours.
6. Add to stir-fry along with your choice of vegetables and sauce.
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cm piece fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ cup teriyaki sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup apple juice
Mix all the ingredients together and leave to rest for half an hour before adding the tofu. Leave the dry-fried tofu in the marinade for a few hours. You may use the tofu after half an hour, but it won't have as much flavour as it would if left to soak longer.
I then use this marinade as a dressing for my stir-fry and noodles. Very tasty.