I can tell by the stats that a good number of visitors to the site are interested in posts about tofu.

Therefore I’ve been wanting to write up a post reviewing this Tofu that I always buy at Trader Joe’s most anytime I go there, along with a simple basic recipe on how to prepare an easy tofu dish.

Interest in tofu is well deserved of course, as tofu is an excellent high-quality protein that is plant-based and is inexpensive. So what’s not to like?

Even if you, like yours truly, are not vegetarian, tofu is a good thing that you should be eating for so many reasons. Tofu is healthy, good for you, good for the planet, and is versatile and easy to use in so many ways. If its not already on your typical list of “mains” or  “proteins” that you go shopping for on a regular basis, I would suggest tofu should be added to your list. Meatless Mondays? Sure, thats a good start!

In our house we usually make a Japanese “tofu steak” style recipe once a week or so. This package: “Trader Joe San ORGANIC TOFU” in the pink & white package is a good product. Not too soft nor too firm, it takes well to being cooked up as described here.

Tofu for most of us Americans will pretty much seem to have “no taste” on its own. However what tofu does quite well is absorb flavors. What flavors then should you think about? Obvious ones to use are Asian flavors: Soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil…. You can not go wrong with these flavors and cooking tofu.

What about texture? I like cooking tofu so that it get a bit “golden brown” and develops a surface texture with a slight bite to the tooth, which it can get if cooked in certain ways. So one of the ideal ways for me to make it is to grill it until golden brown to improve the texture and then serve it with some kind of sauce.

Here’s a very basic and easy recipe to make grilled or sautéed tofu.

1. Take it out of the package, pour off all the water, and set it over a colander or strainer to drain. Let it sit for about an hour. I sometimes put a few plates for a little weight and pressure.

2. Cut the tofu carefully. First into slices about 1/2 inch thick, then if you want smaller pieces, cut those into half. Heat up a non-stick or cast iron pan till it is good and hot with a teaspoon of some neutral oil and add the tofu slices (a little sesame oil added is great for extra flavor) and let it cook for about 10 minutes at medium heat until the tofu looks golden brown when you check it. Flip the slices and cook the other side till those are also golden. In the picture I’ve sprinkled on some fresh ground black pepper.

3. When they are cooked, now is when you either go one or two ways sauce or add flavoring. One way is to add the sauce (ingredients) to the pan and cook in the sauce till they are absorbed mostly. The other way is to remove the tofu to a serving plate and make your sauce and pour it over the tofu, or around it. Both ways are good and I would suggest trying both methods and see which you prefer (the pouring over keeps the crispy texture of course a bit more) I like both and make it both ways depending on my mood.

Make a Sauce: Sauté freshly grated ginger and chopped garlic for a few seconds till fragrant and then add your liquids: 2 tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce (Trader Joe’s has one).  Maybe some stock. A teaspoon of Sesame Oil (TJ). Optional: Mushrooms, Oyster Sauce, Sriracha, Fish Sauce, Chopped scallions, Pinch of sugar or honey, and Cilantro if you like it. Sometimes at the end I will add a little cornstarch/water slurry to thicken up the sauce.

If you prefer to just buy a sauce for your tofu steak: Try TJ’s SOYAKI or TJ Ginger Soy salad dressing. Sriracha and Soy. Anything flavorful that might go well with it.

A package feeds 2 or 3 with other things (rice, sides) and costs around $2

Marinating also is a good technique for flavor. Here’s a good sounding recipe for Baked Tofu.

Easy Baked Tofu with Sesame and Soy Sauce

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: TJ’s High Protein Organic Super Firm Tofu | Trader Joe’s Rants & Raves (mostly raves!)

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