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Creating the Proper Marinade
Although I'm writing as a vegetarian, we are not the only ones who use marinades.
It isn't just tofu and eggplant which need to be flavoured before cooking.
Creating a proper marinade is an art, although many have gotten excellent results with a store bought product you can create your own.
Further, when you create that marinade, it should not be a 'one off' , as if once the food is flavoured the Marinade has completed its job so should be disposed of:
This is a waste.
Many marinades can be saved and reused with exceptionally tasty effect.
It depends on the constituent ingredients, of course, and the time between using it for this dish and that one, but with planning, one good marinade can do a number of tasks.
Whatever marinade you use, once you remove the items you have flavoured, pour the remaining marinade into a jar and refrigerate.
Many marinades improve over time.
By wasting nothing you can buy more expensive products, you can take time in carefully adding and measuring because it is not a use once and discard.
By having a ready made marinade sitting in the fridge the preparation time for a meal is cut, so that one can cut up an item, put it into a dish, pour on the marinade, (perhaps needing to add a bit of this and that) and pop it back into the fridge for tomorrow or later that day.
One item which needs all the help it can get is Egg Plant. People who claim to hate it fall in love with it once it is well flavoured,
I have found that soaking Egg Plant in Italian dressing before use (especially in Italian dishes) gives it a great flavour. You can make your own Italian Dressing or buy it.
It is to contain olive oil, vinegar and a number of seasonings.
What to do with it when you’ve finished? Add it to the tomato sauce.
Pour the marinade directly into your tomato sauce (or your tomato sauce into the marinade) before using it. It enhances your sauce.
Another item which is universally hated is Tofu because it has 'no flavour' . That is because whomever cooked it didn't take the time to give it flavour.
Italian dressing can be used as well as the soup packet which comes in Ramen. One uses just enough water to dissolve the packet and cover the tofu. What flavour you use depends on what you are making.
Suppose you are making a Chinese stir fried. You soak the tofu in some ‘Oriental’ flavoured broth, remove it to be breaded or fried as is. The remaining marinade is used to moisten the vegetables or cook the noodles..
If it is a curry, the same rules apply, save you marinate in a thinned curry paste with the addition of the broth.
In some cases you may coat the tofu with chutney, samosa sauce, virtually anything can be used for tofu will pick up the flavours. I find that marinating the tofu in the ingredients you plan to use in the meal before cooking it, works wonders.
Hence if you were going to barbeque it, soaking it in your favourite barbeque sauce, then cooking it well coated in that sauce is far more effective than chopping it up, slapping on the sauce and cooking it.
Different marinades get different results. Many times left over sauce from other meals is very useful. Even a little can be mixed with your saved marinade for a unique taste.
Boiling broccoli or other vegetables and using the water as a marinade base adds nutrients as well as flavour.
Even a little left over curry sauce or cheese sauce is fantastic in a marinade, giving unexpected flavours.
No matter what it is you are planning to serve this 'pre-seasoning' gives great results.