Do you struggle to use tofu? Do you find that every time to you try to make a tofu dish, it’s a flop, and you end up grabbing take-away instead?
Tofu is a great source of iron, zinc and protein, but so many of my clients really struggle to create tofu-based meals that taste good.
When cooked badly, tofu can taste sour and have either a rubbery or mushy texture. Without understanding how to properly cook with tofu, you might find it trickier to integrate more plant-based meals into your week, or make it more difficult to maintain your plant-based eating.
On the other hand, nailing your cooking technique can help motivate you to eat more plant-foods which not only helps your body, but also our planet and the animals
Making tofu taste good is actually really easy! It’s is such a diverse ingredient that can be used in so many different ways in recipes across cuisines. Keep reading because these top tips may just change the way you see tofu.
1. Choose firm tofu as a meat alternative and silken as a dairy alternative in cooking
As a blanket rule, I always cook with firm or extra firm tofu in meals like stir fries as a meat-alternative. Using soft tofu in these dishes will leave you with mushy clumps that don’t hold their shape.
The only time I use the silken or soft kinds are when I want to replace dairy to make something creamy
2. Press your firm tofu first
For the best texture, before you start preparing your meal, wrap the block of tofu in a clean tea towel and place between two plates. Put some heavy items like thick books on top of the tofu and leave until you’re ready to cook it, or even for a few hours.
If you forget to do this, don’t worry! Just dry off as much of the liquid from the surface of the tofu as possible
3. If you’re a tofu novice, only use tofu in wet dishes and marinades
Although you can absolutely use dry rubs, herbs and spices, tofu doesn’t absorb the flavours as well as when it’s marinated in a liquid, or when it’s cooked into a wet dish like curries, stews or bolognaise.
4. Don’t expect it to look, taste or feel like meat
It’s very easy to have high expectations of tofu, especially if you’re new to eating plant-based. At the end of the day, tofu is just soy, and although there are some fancy tricks you can do to make it seem more like meat, it will never be an exact replica. It might take a few tries to perfect your technique and that’s totally okay! Embrace the learning process!
If you’re keen to give tofu another go, try my super-simple tofu scramble recipe below. I love to see what you make so don’t forget to tag @newtown_nutrition on Instagram or Facebook.
- 300g tofu
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1-2 tablespoon milk of choice
- A glug of oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rip the tofu into pieces with your hands
- Heat the oil in the pan on medium-high heat, then add in the tofu pieces. Cook until lightly browned, stirring often
- Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder and turmeric, and cook until the tofu is bright and colourful
- Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool for a minute. Add the plant-milk and stir constantly until absorbed into the tofu. You might need to place the pan back onto the heat to allow the milk to completely absorb into the tofu
- Serve on a slice of wholegrain toast with some fresh tomato
For another simple tofu recipe try our One Bowl Miso Soup recipe.
If you would like to learn more about how you can incorporate tofu, tempeh and other nutrient-rich plant-based foods into your diet click the button below to make an appointment with our plant-based dietitian