You’ve probably heard of tofu but if you’re reading this article, you’ve probably never tried it.
For many people, tofu is an exotic food and they wouldn’t know how to prepare the square blocks. Others even wonder if tofu is healthy and how much of it they should be eating.
Well, if you have never heard tofu, then you will find this article quite informative. Who knows, you might just become a fan of this healthy dish. Keep reading for some tips on how you can make it taste even better.
Does Tofu Taste Good?
To answer the question, 'how does tofu taste?', we must first get into the details of what it’s made of.
Tofu is simply soy milk that’s been curdled and then shaped into tiny blocks. Soybeans originate from East Asia. To make tofu, the beans are usually soaked for a while. Once the size of the beans increases, they are crushed and the liquid from them is gathered. This liquid is called soy milk. The milk is then curdled and pressed into a block. This block is what you will find sold in stores, and in all honesty, most people wouldn’t be impressed by it.
So, what does tofu look like? It simply looks like a block of white sponge. Although tofu can be chiseled into any shape, most people are familiar with the tiny blocks.
Before it has been cooked or seasoned, tofu tastes sour and is quite bland. However, this food is an excellent absorber of flavors, which makes it a favorite for anyone who knows their way around a kitchen. When prepared correctly, tofu can be savory, sweet, crunchy, or soft.
One of the best things about tofu is that it is quite versatile. Some people like it raw. But if you want really up the flavor with this ingredient, you should try cooking it.
Raw tofu has a mildly sweet and creamy texture, making it an excellent addition to desserts.
Does Tofu Taste Like Cheese?
If you were going to make cottage cheese, you would follow a similar process to tofu’s, only you would be using milk. It is no surprise that most people wonder whether tofu tastes like cheese. Tofu’s taste is especially likened to that of feta cheese, and with good reason.
Sure, the two have completely different textures, and a seasoned tofu lover would immediately notice the difference. But, tofu would be a great replacement for a recipe that calls for feta cheese, especially salads. When mixed with the other ingredients, tofu’s flavor will stand out.
Give it a try the next time you are making a salad for guests! I’ll bet they’ll mistake it for feta cheese!
Understanding the Types of Tofu
If you are going to buy tofu, you may be overwhelmed by the available variety. The number of brands making different types of tofu all around the world is astonishing. However, all of them are made using the same basic method. Curdled soy milk.
Whether you are just curious or would want to pick up some tofu for your next cookout, it helps to know what you are up against. Here are some of the most common types of tofu that you’ll find in a store.
Firm/ Extra-firm Tofu
If you are looking for a tofu that can be used across several dishes, the firm or extra-firm blocks of tofu will be ideal. This tofu is the most versatile type. You can fry, bake, make steaks, or even use it raw in a salad.
It has a rubbery texture and holds its shape well, even after some manipulation.
Firm tofu is always the safest choice if you are unsure of what to buy.
Medium and Soft Block Tofu
These two types have a smoother texture, which makes them crumble easier than the firm and extra-firm tofu blocks. They also have a high water content, which makes them a little less than ideal for pan-frying or stir-frying.
One of these should be your go-to if you are looking to make a delicious sauce or any dish that doesn’t require much manipulation of the tofu (ie. cutting).
Soft tofu is especially great in egg-like salads and any soup dishes.
Medium block tofu, on the other hand, is great for boiling and braising.
This type of tofu is ultra-soft, rich, and creamy. Thanks to its soft texture and creamy nature, silken tofu is the perfect base ingredient for dairy-free cheesecakes and vegan mayonnaise. You can also use it as a base for soups, dips, and sauces after some pureeing.
Silken tofu is the ideal ingredient if you are looking to make decadent dessert recipes. You can whisk it vigorously with sugar to create a faux-whipped cream or pie filling.
If you want to try something a little more authentic, serve it cold with some grated ginger and some soy sauce. This is a beloved traditional dish in Japan, and the perfect appetizer if you ask me!
Ever had one of those days where you are just too tired to whip up an entire meal? Fried tofu is the perfect solution for days like that!
These little blocks are fried and pre-packaged. All you need to do is throw it in a pan and stir-fry with one of your favorite sauces. The spongy texture of Fried tofu allows it to pick up flavors perfectly.
If you are looking for a quick tofu snack, baked tofu is a great ingredient to have tucked away in your pantry. These blocks of tofu are baked and packaged in a vacuum seal. Baked tofu is usually ready to eat, but it also makes a great addition to meals such as casseroles, sandwiches, and salads.
Baked Tofu comes in a variety of marinade flavors such as Teriyaki and Mexican, so you can choose whatever you like.
3 Tips to Make Your Tofu Better
As we’ve mentioned, tofu is great at absorbing flavors. When you are trying to make the best-tasting tofu, your method of cooking and the sauces you use play an essential role. With that said, it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra tricks up your sleeves.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to make your tofu even better:
Tofu comes packaged in water, so you will need to drain it. All of the water inside of tofu can prevent it from absorbing flavor as well.
Draining the tofu will give it a firmer shape, which is essential when it comes to absorbing the flavor from any sauces or other ingredients you cook with it. You can press it using paper towels and a heavy object, however it's much more convenient to use a high-quality tofu press.
Marinating your tofu is perhaps the most important step. This gives will give your tofu extra time to soak up flavors.
You can spice things up by trying a variety of sauces and juices. To get the best results, try to stay away from oils. Tofu retains a lot of water even after it has been pressed. So, using oil in your marinades won’t be useful since water and oil don’t mix.
Even after you have marinated the tofu, you can use a combination of spices to shake things up a bit. Of course, this will depend on what method of cooking you intend to go with. But, as a guide for savory dishes, be sure to use some salt, garlic powder, soy sauce, and pepper.
Can You Make Tofu Taste Like Meat?
Just like meat, there are different ways of preparing tofu. If you are trying to achieve a meaty taste, your best bet would be to crumble the tofu and stir-fry it until it is brown and crispy. Be sure to use extra-firm tofu for the best results.
If you have been looking for a meat substitute for yourself or the vegans in your house, you will love tofu prepared like this once you have a taste of it.
This vegan protein is quite bland right out of its packaging. But let’s face it, tofu can be one of the healthiest and best-tasting proteins you ever had if you cook it right. Tofu's versatility will give you a ton of options. Whether you are looking for a quick snack fix or a base ingredient for an entire meal, tofu will most likely fit.
There are several tofu recipes that you can try out to find which one tickles your fancy. Be sure to implement the tips above to get the most out of your tofu dish. So, why not try out some tofu for dinner? You just may find a new household staple!