Best Tofu Recipes Using Soft, Silken, Firm Tofu - Bake, Fry, Grill

Cooking tofu can be a challenge for many people. It is hard to get perfect results and the taste and texture can be disappointing. Tofu has virtually no taste of its own. Encouraging the tofu to absorb other flavors from the dish, before the tofu is cooked, can be tricky. The preparation for various types of tofu before cooking is also different. Firmed tofu is usually drained and squeezed or pressed before cooking. It is usually battered, stir fried and baked, in various dishes. Soft Block Tofu is not squeezed and is eaten raw, pureed, boiled, or battered and then deep fried. This article includes the best ever tofu recipes for various uses. You will enjoy learning to cook tofu properly to enhance its many features and textures.

Tofu is a wonderful health food. It is great source of vegetable protein and also calcium, magnesium and many other minerals and vitamins. This article compares the nutrients in tofu with other ingredients with similar uses: Cheddar Cheese, Low Fat Yogurt, Chicken Breast and Portabella Mushrooms. See the handy table comparing nutrients for a 100 g serving of each food.

Tofu has a delightful texture and absorbs the flavors of other ingredients when prepared properly. Discover how here.
Tofu has a delightful texture and absorbs the flavors of other ingredients when prepared properly. Discover how here. | Source
Tofu cooked well is a delight. Looked poorly it is soggy and lifeless. Follow the tips presented here to make the recipes work for you.
Tofu cooked well is a delight. Looked poorly it is soggy and lifeless. Follow the tips presented here to make the recipes work for you. | Source
Cook tofu like a pro using these simple tips and great recipes
Cook tofu like a pro using these simple tips and great recipes | Source
Tofu can be combined with shrimp and other ingredients to create salt and pepper style dishes. Discover how in this article.
Tofu can be combined with shrimp and other ingredients to create salt and pepper style dishes. Discover how in this article. | Source

How to Press Firm Tofu and Tips for Marinating and Preparing Tofu

Tofu is packed in water and it is like a sponge. It absorbs and takes up the water. Tofu itself has no real taste. So to impart taste to tofu, the trick is to squeeze out the water and then marinate it in a flavorsome liquid while it rehydrates. Pressing is only done for firm tofu, not the soft and silken varieties.

To press firm tofu follow these steps:

  • Slice open the package and discard the water. Cut the block of tofu into slices about 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick.
  • Put a cloth towel on a baking dish or large plate. Place several layers of paper towel on top.
  • Position the tofu slices on the paper towels to form a single layer and cover with several layers of paper towel and cover with a cloth towel (or fold over the one used for the bottom).
  • Place heavy objects on top such as cans of food, cookbooks or a saucepan or pot filled with water.
  • Set aside for 30-60 minutes least 30 minutes.
  • Uncover the tofu and it is ready to be used.

Tips for Marinating Tofu and Ensuring it is Crisp when Fried

  • Always press firm tofu before marinating
  • Avoid marinades that contain oil, which blocks the infusion of flavors.
  • Vinegar, soy sauce, citrus juice or stock are ideal for marinades
  • Tossing pressed, marinaded and dried tofu slices in cornstarch helps ensure the outer layer is crisp when fried. Place 1/2 of cornstarch in a plastic bag, add the tofu slices and toss to cover all surfaces. Transfer the tofu to a colander and toss well to remove excess flour. Aim for a very thin coating.
  • Tofu does not need to be deep fried to be crisp. Once coated it can be shallow fried, or spayed with oil and grilled or barbecued. It is also ideal for stir-frying. Using oils infused with flavors such as chilli, garlic or mustard imparts extra flavors to the tofu

Easy Crispy Fried Firm Tofu Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil, rice bran oil, peanut oil or olive oil

Method

The firm tofu needs to be pressed to allow it to absorb the flavors of the other ingredients when fried. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch (1 cm slices and place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Set aside for 10 minutes. Press the tofu slices, as described previously in this article. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until very hot. Fry the tofu in small batches to ensure the oil remains very hot, turning once. It generally takes 4 - 6 minutes to cook the tofu so that the outside is golden brown and crispy.

Tofu Lasagna with Spinach - A Vegan Recipe

The omission of cheese means this vegan lasagna recipe is completely free of dairy products and cholesterol. It also has less fat than traditional lasagna recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound soft tofu
  • 1 pound firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 32-ounce (1 kg) jar of tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb (250 g) good quality lasagna noodles
  • 2 x 10-ounce (280 g) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed; or equivalent fresh spinach

Method

Cook the lasagna noodles following the cooking guide on the package. Drain in a colander to remove excess moisture. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Squeeze all the excess moisture from the spinach. Place the salt, basil, lemon juice, garlic powder, soy milk, sugar and tofu in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Add a thin layer of tomato sauce the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch (22 x 33 cm) baking pan. Then, add layers of noodles tofu and spinach. Add extra layers, and finish with a layer of tomato sauce. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the lasagna starts to bubble.

Tofu Chow Mein Recipe with Cashews

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts
  • 1 carrot, sliced vertically
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
  • 6 oz (180 g) firm tofu - cut into cubes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 10 oz (300 g) precooked thick wheat noodles

Method

Soak the precooked noodles in a bowl of hot water for several minutes, loosen them, then drain in a sieve or colander. Combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce and water in a small bowl. Heat a wok over high heat, add the oil and heat until very hot. Stir-fry the carrot and broccoli for 2-3 minutes. Add the tofu and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a minute. Or you can stir fry each of the ingredients separately and then combine them. Add the noodles and stir to combine. Pour the sauce mix over the dish and add the cashews. Fry briefly to combine and heat through. Serve hot.

Silken Tofu Miso Hummus

Ingredients

  • 150 g silken tofu
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon white miso
  • Juice from one small lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons of peanut or rice bran oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Whisk the garlic, tahini, and tofu together a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients one at a time and combine well until smooth. Sprinkle the dish with chopped chives and serve.


Crispy 'Salt and Pepper' Style, Fried Tofu with Chilli Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 red chilli, finely sliced
  • 6 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran or grape seed oil
  • 2 inch (5 cm) piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 200 g (7 oz) firm tofu, squeezed (see above), dried on paper towels and cut into 1 inch (2 cm) cubes

For the dipping sauce

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce

Method

Combine all the dipping sauce ingredients and set aside. Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and heat until very hot, ready for stir-frying. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for about 2 minutes, then add the chilli and spring onion and fry for another minute. Remove the fried ingredients and set aside. Reheat the wok. Lightly dust the tofu with the flour, tossing in a colander to remove any excess. Then, stir-fry the tofu in small batches in a small amount of hot oil until crisp and golden brown. Add back the fried vegetable ingredients, drizzle with sesame sauce and stir to reheat and combine. Serve with the dipping sauce, steamed rice and stir-fried greens.

Tofu Tempura Recipe with a Creamy, Spicy Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 cups iced water
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 50 g ( 2 oz) mixed leaf salad
  • 400 g (14 oz) firm tofu, cut into 1 inch (2 cm) cubes
  • 2 cups rice bran oil or grape seed oil, for deep frying
  • 200 g all-purpose flour combined with 4 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

For the sauce

  • 100 g (3 oz) mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic chilli sauce

Method

Make the creamy spicy sauce by combining the ingredients and setting aside. Make a thin batter by mixing flour with a little water. Pour the oil into a wok or deep fryer and heat to 160 degrees C (325 degrees F). Dip the tofu in the batter and deep fry immediately for about 5 minutes. Work with small batches to keep the temperature high and consistent. This ensures the coating is crisp. Serve the tofu on a bed of mixed green leaf salad with the dipping sauce.

Baked Tofu Recipe Using a Thai Peanut Marinade

Ingredients

  • 1 block of firm or extra-firm tofu, sliced, squeezed and marinaded
  • salt to taste

For the Marinade

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot chilli flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Make the sauce by whisking together the fish sauce, lime juice, honey, soy sauce and peanut butter until smooth and well combined. Stir in the garlic, turmeric, chilli and ginger. Drain the tofu and slice crosswise into about 8 slices. Squeeze using the method described previously in this article. Put the slices into a shallow dish and add about 1/2 cup or marinade, covering all the slices. Set aside to marinate for 30-60 minutes. Remove slices and place on a baking sheet, which has been lined with greased parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Flip each of the slices over and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven sprinkle with salt, chopped green onions and a drizzle of left over marinade and serve hot.

Spicy Grilled or Barbecued Marinaded Tofu

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons of chilli
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoons of freshly ground ground black pepper
  • 1 lb (500 g) extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 8 slices, lengthwise

Method

Whisk the lime juice, garlic, syrup, soy sauce, chilli paste and pepper in small bowl to make a marinade. Squeeze the tofu slices using the method described earlier in this article. Place the slices in a baking dish or wide pan in a single layer. Pour the marinade over the tofu. Set aside in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours, or overnight to absorb the flavors of the marinade. Spray the grill or barbecue surface with cooking spray and heat to moderate hot. Grill the tofu slices for 3-5 minutes for each side, or until well browned and crisp on the outside. Serve immediately topped with a little of the left over marinade.

Comparison of Nutrients in 100 g of firm tofu with other food with similar uses

Nutrients in 100 g serving
Tofu firm
Cheddar Cheese
Low Fat Yogurt
Chicken Breast, Raw
Mushroom Portabella, raw
Energy (kcal)
62
406
63
172
22
Protein (g)
6.9
24.04
5.25
20.85
2.11
Total lipid (fat) (g)
2.7
33.82
1.55
9.25
0.35
Carbohydrate, by difference (g)
2.4
1.33
7.04
0
3.87
Fiber (g)
0.1
0
0
0
1.3
Sugars, total (g)
1.27
0.28
7.04
0
2.5
Minerals
 
 
 
 
 
Calcium, Ca (mg)
32
675
183
11
3
Iron, Fe (mg)
1.03
0.16
0.08
0.74
0.31
Magnesium, Mg (mg)
27
27
17
25
 
Phosphorus, P (mg)
90
473
144
174
108
Potassium, K (mg)
194
76
234
220
364
Sodium, Na (mg)
36
644
70
63
9
Zinc, Zn (mg)
0.61
3.43
0.89
0.8
0.53
Vitamins
 
 
 
 
 
Vitamin C (mg)
0
0
0.8
0
0
Thiamin (mg)
0.101
0.027
0.044
0.063
0.059
Riboflavin (mg)
0.041
0.434
0.214
0.085
0.13
Niacin (mg)
0.247
0.039
0.114
9.908
4.494
Vitamin B-6 (mg)
0.011
0.049
0.049
0.53
0.148
Folate, DFE (mcg)
 
26
11
4
28
Vitamin B-12 (mcg)
0
0.88
0.56
0.34
0.05
Vitamin A, IU (IU)
0
994
51
83
0
Vitamin E (mg)
 
0.78
0.03
0.27
0.02
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) (mcg)
 
0.6
0
0.4
0.3
Vitamin K (mcg)
 
2.9
0.2
0
0
Lipids
 
 
 
 
 
Fatty acids,sat (g)
0.406
19.368
1
2.66
0.06
Fatty acids,mono (g)
0.539
8.428
0.426
3.82
0.02
Fatty acids, poly (g)
1.485
1.433
0.044
1.96
0.117
Fatty acids, trans (g)
0
1.179
6
0.105
0.004
Cholesterol (mg)
 
102
 
64
0

© 2015 Dr. John Anderson

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Comments 1 comment

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York

My knowledge of Tofu was yuk until I read this very informative hub! As always you include a variety of recipes that is sure to please everyone.

Telling us about the different types of Tofu was not only a good idea but an insurance of better cooking results.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

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