Tofu – eww!
That’s what you might say when anyone mentions that word. “That’s for those vegetarian/vegan nuts,” you think. Well, to the carnivores in my audience, think again and give it a try!
Last night after an earlier trek to the yard where my Florida winter garden holds rainbow collards, broccoli and Brussel sprouts, I ended up with the basis for a stir fry and topped it with crispy tofu. It was so delicious (at least hubby and I thought it was!) that I had to share my methods.
Now we’ve been preparing tofu for several years, trying different ways, and always sticking with the firm or super firm variety. Our favorite way these days is to make it crispy by coating with corn starch or cornmeal. The key is to drain as much of the moisture out of it as possible before preparing. I like to to drain in a colander for 10 – 15 minutes and then slice and place onto paper towels layering another paper towel on top. Then I let it sit for an hour or two or whatever time it takes to get that excess moisture out before cutting into chunks. Now there are other methods, like squeezing the moisture out by pressing down with a cutting board or plate. I even saw an idea on SeriousEats blog where you actually put it in salted boiling water, which sounds counter-intuitive, but it actually allows the moisture from the tofu to be released more readily. You can also marinate after you’ve dried it out to add some additional flavor. Teriyaki sauce works great, but for the crispest results, skip the marinade.
So last night it was veggies – sautéed in grape seed oil until just crisp tender – topped with my crispy fried tofu chunks. I started with that garden yield, added a few asparagus and some sweet pepper strips (I love those mini peppers – they are so sweet and add great color). After the veggies were cooked just right, I added chopped green onion and garlic and just let them absorb the heat from the veggies . At this point, you can move your veggies to a warm platter or bowl while you prepare the tofu in the same pan (clean it out with a paper towel and add some more oil) or if you prefer you can prepare the tofu while your veggies cook in another pan, but PLEASE don’t overcook the veggies – you want them just crisp tender to preserve color, nutrition and flavor. I also add a small amount of sauce – teriyaki, soy, black bean – whatever your preference – at the end of cooking. Brown rice is a nice addition, and you’ll see that I went that route last night from the photos.
All photos in this gallery by Words Etc.©2015
Now let’s talk about tofu for a few minutes – it’s low in sodium, cholesterol and calories and is a great source of protein. If you want to experiment with other recipes, keep in mind that tofu will pick up the flavors of the foods you blend it with.
If you’re after a low-sodium, low-cholesterol healthy choice, give it a try. Live on the edge. If you don’t like it, you still have to admit that the veggies make a beautiful presentation 🙂