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Easy Tofu recipes


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A close friend's daughter just went vegetarian on them. My friend is kind of at her wits end, trying to think of meals for her as well as the rest of the family. She's a great home cook, but her family isn't very adventerous.

The daugher is interested in tofu, and my friend has never prepared it before. I gave her some ideas, but I'm seeing them again, Thursday, and would like to have some more recipes and ideas.

Can you guys give me your favorite, family friendly tofu recipes? Stuff that's not too complicated, that might appeal to kids, and meat/starch types?

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This is my favourite tofu recipe. I learned it in Vietnam, and it's really simple; even my husband, who is not keen on tofu will eat it. I'll note that it's only worth making if they use decent canned or fresh tomatoes and good firm tofu. Hopefully they have access to an Asian market where they can get the good stuff.

1 block of firm tofu, drained (you can nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds or so to help drain it.) and in largeish cubes or slices, as you like.

Or- if available- one block of pre-fried tofu, cubed


1 can of crushed or whole tomatoes, or four fresh tomatoes, seeded, blanched and chopped.

1 tbsp or so of oil

1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

An equal amount of fresh garlic, peeled and chopped

3 or 4 green onions, cleaned and chopped

salt (or fish sauce), sugar to balance seasoning


If you've bought regular firm tofu, you can use it as is, or fry it, cubed, in a fry pan to crisp up the edges until they're golden. Just make sure it's well-drained, or it will spit. When it's fried, set it aside on paper towel to drain, then make the sauce in the skillet.

I always buy pre-fried tofu, because I have access to it, and it's better with more oil. :biggrin:


In a skillet, heat the oil on a low heat, adding the garlic, ginger, and green onion. Fry them gently until they're fragrant, then add tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes down for ten minutes or so, breaking them up if you're using whole ones. When the tomatoes look more like a sauce and less like tomato cubes, adjust the seasoning with a bit of salt and sugar. Turn in your tofu (fried or plain, as you like), and stir gently to coat. Let it simmer on a low heat for another minute or so to absorb the sauce.

This serves two with only rice on the side, or four if you make it part of a meal with a protein and a vegetable, like you would at a Vietnamese meal. If they're making it as a family meal, the omnivores can have chicken on the side, and the vegetarian can have a larger portion.

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I think the best thing you can do is to encourage your friend to discard the idea of tofu as a meat/protein substitute (tofu cheese, tofu weiners, etc.) and think of it on its own terms. Try to take advantage of the inherent creaminess and silkiness of good quality fresh tofu, along the lines of fresh mozzarella or ricotta. Hopefully there is a good producer of fresh tofu in your area.

In addition to standbys like ma po tofu, hiya yakko and of course miso soup, I will often crumble medium tofu into a salad with greens and tomatoes. Would go well with virtually any dressing.

Hiya yakko can also be made in any of a zillion ways by varying the toppings. Anything from traditional bonito flakes to minced fried garlic, crumbled bacon, fried minced pork, etc. (Obviously some of the latter would not do for a vegetarian.) And you can vary the "sauce" to your hearts desire, from plain old soy sauce to Chinese- or Korean-style sauces.

Edited by sanrensho (log)
Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I like using the extra firm tofu (cubed) in a stew...you can do any kind of flavor, since it kind of blends in, so you're not confining to asian flavors. I think the pre-fried tofu is a great idea for that, also!

Silken tofu can also be blended in to a soup (or fruit-based smoothie) to make it creamy.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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I made a tomato egg drop soup from Into the Vietnamese Kitchen the other day. It was both easy and delicious.

1 white or yellow onion

1 or 2 clove garlic

About 1/3 lb tofu (probably more, to taste)

2-3 Tbls fish sauce

3/4 lb tomatoes (fresh or canned)

5 1/2 c water

2 eggs

Cook onions, adding garlic midway through, to soften. Once softened, add the tofu and fish sauce, stir, then add tomatoes (crushed), and water. Cook for 15-20 minutes adding fish sauce to taste. Just before serving, beat eggs and swirl over the top, stirring to break them up.

I just realized that if she's strictly vegetarian, no fish sauce. And that's too bad...

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Also, basic stir-fries with tofu can be fantastic. Throw some tofu into a wok with green vegetables, fish sauce (or soy, etc.), chiles... Whatever you want. Tofu provides textural variation and protein, and the dish will be incredibly healthy, and filling, with some rice.

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For the times I eat alone at home and cook something simple, I like to fix up blocks of seared tofu and serve it under a mountain of steamed or sauteed veggies with a quick sauce that has a little heat to it. Don't' forget the different textures of tofu available out there.

since the daughter is going vegetarian, your friend might want to consider grains or legumes with more protein content than tofu. Lentil or quinoa salads topped with crumbled tofu, chopped veggies and tossed in a light vinaigrette is always good too.

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I like to make breakfast smoothies using the dessert style tofus - my fave is the mango flavored one - and add some fruit, whatever I have on hand...usually a banana and some type of berry, some yoghurt, and some juice to thin it out (typically orange) and blend it all up.

A truly destitute man is not one without riches, but the poor wretch who has never partaken of lobster. - anonymous
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I was vegan for quite some time and did a lot of different things with tofu.

One of my favorite was to take a block of firm or extra firm tofu, drain it thoroughly, slice it lengthwise into 1/2" thick "slabs", then spray those slabs with olive oil and roll in garam masala. Then heat some garlic and oil in a pan over high heat and sear the tofu "steaks." This goes great with some mango or fig chutney and some quinoa or couscous.

Another thing to keep in mind about tofu is that it takes flavor quite well. If you prepare a marinade of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, spicy sesame oil, white vinegar, mirin or shaoxing wine, a touch of sugar or honey, and lemon juice, and let the tofu sit in it for a day, you can make a great stir fry with the marinated tofu and veggies (broccoli, sugar snap peas, etc.) and use the marinade as a sauce by whisking in a bit of cornstarch before adding it to the stir fry.

For more complicated preparations, you can play with the texture of the tofu by dehydrating it or baking it, but those are probably too time consuming to use for an individual serving.

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Oh, these ideas are excellent, you guys are the best! Keep em coming! I can't wait to pass on all this great stuff, to them. Hell, I'm not even a veg, and I'm craving half of this stuff.

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For the times I eat alone at home and cook something simple, I like to fix up blocks of seared tofu and serve it under a mountain of steamed or sauteed veggies with a quick sauce that has a little heat to it. Don't' forget the different textures of tofu available out there.

that's pretty much what i do, too, but I dip the tofu pieces into cornstarch and saute--it comes out with a great crispy crust--this is the only way the Hub will eat tofu--I myself love it any way possible--I get cravings for it, in fact.

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We used to press slices of firm tofu between sheet pans for an hour then marinate them in terriyaki sauce and pan fry....tasted like steak but felt like an omlette


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers


Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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We had this the other day for dinner:

-Block of tofu, medium or firm, drained and sliced

-Arrange in a layer on heat proof plate or dish

-Slap a fillet of salmon on top, with a couple tablespoons of chicken stock (I used tinned salmon, only because I didn't have any of the fresh salmon)

-Steam until salmon is done, unless you're using tinned, in which case steam till heated through

-In the meantime, finely julienne green onions and ginger

-Heat up in a small sauce pan about 1/4 cup vegetable oil, till hot

-When the tofu and salmon are done, arrange onions and ginger (cilantro if you've got it) on top, drizzle of soy. Carefully, pour hot oil on top of the whole thing, it should sizzle.

That's it!

Or if I'm feeling really lazy, make a dressing of soy, sesame oil, touch of rice vinegar, grated ginger, finely sliced green onions, pour it over cubed soft or medium tofu, and just eat it like a salad. It's good hot or cold.

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Firm tofu can be crumbled and mixed with green onion, egg, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and other vegetables of interest as a filling for gyoza. Mum could make a big batch, freeze them, and then pan-fry them as needed for a quick dinner with rice or noodles - the family gets meat, but the daughter gets some gyoza.

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I have some soft tofu in the fridge - not exactly sure what to do with it as I cannot have it as the main star of the dinner (as too much tofu totally fucks my stomach up) and never used the soft variety before, I am a bit perplexed.

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This is all very valuable (except maybe the bacon suggestion...tasty idea, but you know... :P )

I jotted all of this down, to give to her today, also I dug up some good legume recipes, soups, stews, and veggie burger ideas.

Keep em coming, though. These are great. We could always use more meatless recipes, in our own non-veg routine.

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I have some soft tofu in the fridge - not exactly sure what to do with it as I cannot have it as the main star of the dinner (as too much tofu totally fucks my stomach up) and never used the soft variety before, I am a bit perplexed.

I just noticed this, and my favorite use for soft tofu is the non-groundbreaking miso soup. Whatever I have leftover gets thrown into the next morning's protein shake with a banana, milk, and some ice, or something.

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I like to pan-fry it, dredged in a light breadcrumb mix, well-seasoned - I always include brewer's yeast, it imparts a unique flavor - and then serve it as a sandwich, usually Reuben-style.

I always use a non-stick pan as it does have a tendency to absorb oil, and I don't like greasy tofu.

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Broiling tofu is one of the simplest methods, plus it is a good one if an alternate veggie dish when the family is having a piece of meat as the main dish. Just marinate the tofu and broil--usually about 6 minutes or so. The first google hit is a good, standard marinade. http://www.codecooker.com/veggiewrangler/t...oiled/index.htm

Any marinade used on meats mom might be making for dinner could also be used. I'm not much for recipes, but many of my favorite marinades have been miso, mustard, or thai curry based.

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