Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tofu

Recently, for some unknown reason, I get nauseous when it comes to meat (nope, not pregnant). I can eat some things, like sushi, chicken salad from my favorite diner, etc, but at home I'm completely done with meat. Now with David's diet, he needs a lot of protein, so sometimes I'll still cook him a meat dish. But mostly I've been sticking with Tofu for our dinners. Since tofu has a lot of protein and low carbs (unlike chickpeas), it's a great meatless option for us.

For anyone who is interested in tofu cooking but doesn't know where to start, hopefully this will give you some ideas. I'm no expert, but I'm learning quickly what does and doesn't work.

Tofu comes in a few different ways; Extra Firm, Firm, Soft, Silken...honestly I always stick with Extra Firm. It provides David with volume and texture that leaves him satisfied. Eventually I hope to work with Soft tofu, which is more recommended for making things like puddings and smoothies.

Most tofu recipes recommend a breading of some sort, but on Ideal Protein that isn't allowed. It limits some of our options, but it also makes me experiment more. If you don't already own a bunch, plan on buying a variety of spices. No idea what they taste like? Practice makes perfect! Some nights I'll just randomly pick two spices I've never tried or used before and see how it turns out. We have yet to have anything we wouldn't eat!

When you buy tofu, you'll notice the package is filled with water. If you open your tofu package but don't plan to cook it, you'll need to change out the water with fresh water everyday. If you plan to cook it, pour out the water and place the tofu on a paper towel. Slice the tofu in half, then place the next piece on another paper towel. You're then going to place the tofu on top of each other, and then a heavy object on top of them (I use my kettle). The goal is to get as much water out of the tofu as possible. The more water, the more spongy it will be and the less flavors it will absorb. I recommend letting it sit an hour, then replacing the wet towels with dry, and letting it sit another hour. Some will let theirs sit much longer, but I feel this is good enough without wasting too much time.



Now that your tofu is dry, cut it in whatever shapes you want. I stick to simple cubes, but I'm sure you've seen the cute triangles people do. Then pick your seasons, coat, and let it sit for a while.



Here I mixed the tofu with garlic powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and some lemon slices.

When it comes to cooking tofu, I stick to a skillet. I like to get our tofu crispy, plus its faster than an oven. I've heard mixed things on using oil when cooking tofu, and I tend to avoid it since oil and water don't really mix. If the tofu is sticking too much (I use a nonstick pan most of the time), try adding some lemon juice. And don't be afraid to let your tofu get dark, otherwise it'll be too mushy.

And really, that's it! Tofu is super easy to prepare and cook, and offers a great vegetarian option with plenty of protein. I plan to post some of my favorite tofu recipes so stay tuned!

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