Episode 34: Trying Out Tofu
Coconut Lime Tofu Soup, Tofu Fries, and Bahn Mi Panzanella.
Tofu is an amazingly versatile and economical ingredient. However, unless one has the luck to grow up in a household cuisine that uses it (hello, Mapo Tofu, Moosewood Cookbook, or Soon Du Bu Jigae!), good recipes may be elusive. Hopefully we’ve found a few new methods -like a gingery soup or crunchy, tangy salad- that will add to your repertoire
Long day at work? In about thirty minutes you can have a steamy bowl of Coconut Lime Tofu soup. The tofu lends healthful protein here, in a savory broth of ginger, coconut milk, lime, and mushrooms.
The recipe author suggest that the lime seems like a lot but worth it. We agreed! The sour tang of the juice puts this recipe in balance.
We didn’t take thirty minutes to press the tofu- just a firm pat dry- and the soup did not suffer one bit.
A quick and easy baked tofu with oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Bakes up quickly and crisp in the oven.
The tofu doesn’t spend long in the marinade, according to the recipe. If you’d like more flavor, keep it longer in the olive oil and spice mix.
While we thought this recipe was a little on the bland side, it’s not a bad idea for some protein for a salad throughout the week or something for little fingers to grab and eat.
As an alternative, Betsy recommended trying out this soup, which uses silken tofu to add a bit of creaminess and protein: Green Veggie Soup by Molly Simms
Some call a Bahn Mi almost almost perfect with its balance of fatty, sour, crunchy and refreshing. This riff on the Vietnamese sandwich has vegetarian twist that manages to hit every note in the original- just in salad form.
Take note. While this is not a difficult recipe, it does include a few steps. Maybe not your choice for a rushed Monday but not so complicated that you couldn’t pull it off on a Thursday night where you’ve got a good podcast in your ears and some time to chop.
We both wanted more veggies here. Consider doubling the pickles or the cucumbers if that sounds good to you.
Don’t skip the sauces! The sum truly is greater than the whole.
From the Smorgasbord…
If you don’t use your tofu all at once, just put it in a resealable container with a little water. Change the water every couple days and the tofu will stay fresh.
Freeze tofu to get a firmer texture. Throw the whole package in the freezer. When you’re ready to use it just thaw, press, and use in your favorite dish that looks for firm tofu.
Try a local tofu! It likely will be close to the same price of mass market brands but likely fresher and may have a taste you prefer.
Use the search term “tofu” or search by ingredient in any of the sites below for some other options.
Vegetarian Times - A stalwart of the vegetarian movement. Deep recipe index.
NYT Cooking- Tofu options that run the gamut from gourmet to authentically sourced to quick and easy.
Serious Eats - Tofu but also a interesting assortment of vegan recipes.
101 Cookbooks- Blog with a bent towards healthy and organic with a distinct “California” vibe. Not your average options but not necessarily for everyone.