Kitchen Kung-Fu: Giving Tofu Texture

By Aurelia d'Andrea January 8, 2014 Categories: How-To's, What Do I Do with...

 

I have a confession to make: I’m a tofutarian.

A tofutarian is a vegetarian who, in the spirit of breathing life into longstanding clichés, rejoices over tofu in all its forms: Silken, firm, extra-firm, fermented, dried, etc. The very same bean-curdy characteristics that make some omnivores shudder are the ones I find most alluring.

Tofu’s blandness, for example, makes it a fabulous vehicle for flavors that span the taste spectrum. Who wouldn’t love a food that can be transformed into a sweet tofu custard tart one day and a savory plate of herb-crusted tofu with mushroom gravy the next?

Yet more than tofu’s flavor (or lack thereof), it’s the jiggly texture that deters many would-be fans. Thankfully, tofu is also malleable when it comes to texture, especially if you let it spend the night in the freezer.

When you freeze tofu, it morphs from bland-and-bouncy to bland-and-chewy. You don’t have to do anything special to the tofu beforehand; just stick it in the freezer—package and all—for at least 24 hours. When you’re ready to use the tofu, remove it from the freezer let it thaw on the countertop. Once the ice crystals have melted, drain the excess water and give it a good squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible.

What you’re left with is something that resembles, on a textural level, the chewiness of something “meaty” rather than wobbly. To further enhance the satisfying toothsomeness of frozen tofu, wrap it in a tea towel and place something heavy on top—a saucepan works well—to extract any remaining moisture.

Not convinced just yet? Try your hand at these tofu-based recipes and see if you can resist the urge to call yourself a tofutarian, too.

Crisp Black Sesame Tofu

Spicy Grilled Tofu

Quinoa Salad with Baked Marinated Tofu

Stir-Fried Tofu

 

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Aurelia d’Andrea’s passion for travel is deeply intertwined with her love of food. Whether in Perth, Prague, or Phnom Penh, she always gravitates toward local markets in search of edible treasures, and takes pleasure in recreating tasty travel memories at home in her tiny Parisian kitchen.

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comments

I would like more tofu recipicies.

Angie Vazquez - 2014-01-09 16:11:56

Everyone in my family likes 1) tofu and 2) quinoa so I'll be making the salad for dinner. I've never seen firm silken tofu and will now keep my eye out for it. I have always been a supporter of tofu, too!

Beth M - 2014-01-09 14:45:12

Robyn, There's lots of info online - pros and cons of soy. I think some of the main issues people have revolves around the fact that soy contains phytoestrogen - leading to concerns about testosterone reduction in men, etc. My sense is that among the medical establishment, most of the concerns are considered overblown. Here's one resource (but of course there are many others): http://blogs.webmd.com/healthy-recipe-doctor/2011/03/four-soy-food-myths-exposed.html I'm with you. I love tofu (even more once I discovered the "freezing" secret they describe in this article and also "pressed tofu" - both of which give tofu a more meat-like consistency). I also love less-processed forms of soy like tempeh.

Brian - 2014-01-09 02:18:20

Yum

Neha - 2014-01-09 00:46:44

Can you explain why tofu and soy get such a bad rap with health gurus saying it causes cancer??? I'm with you!! I love tofu!!

Robyn - 2014-01-08 20:19:14