Nobody is ever ambivalent about tofu. People either love it or hate it.
Tofu Lovers value tofu in the same way they value crossing guards, good oral hygiene, and recycling. They believe tofu is honorable food. Just ask them. It’s low in fat, high in protein, versatile and inexpensive – you can eat it instead of meat! (How cool is that?) Virtuous and saintly, tofu is consumed by vegans and virgins alike. Some even say they like how it tastes.
Tofu Haters usually dislike tofu for at least one of three reasons: texture, taste, or an aversion to the word tofu. At some point in their lives, these unfortunate souls ingested bland, shapeless tofu. They never recovered from the experience. Don’t even get them started on tofurkey.
Tofu is made with curdled hot soymilk and a coagulant like nigari or calcium sulfate. The resultant curds are then formed into a block. Sounds appetizing, right? There are many variations of tofu.
I’ve used the following:
Firm: Firm tofu is dense and keeps its shape when cooked. It has a higher concentration of protein, fat and calcium. I use this kind the most because it’s substantial enough to survive stir-frying.
Soft: Soft tofu has more moisture in it than the firm variety. I usually use it in soup or with chopped pork.
Silken: Silken tofu is made without curdled soymilk. It has a creamy texture and can be blended or pureed with other ingredients. I once made vanilla pudding out of it.
So where does this leave us? With hope. It leaves us with hope. For most, the following recipe will not result in a transformative experience. However, it might induce a little respect.
1 cake firm tofu
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 or 2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
Prepare the tofu by cutting it into ½ inch thick triangles. To do this cut the tofu cake horizontally into thirds. Cut each third of tofu in half and then cut each half diagonally to create triangles. Set aside.
In a shallow baking dish combine the remainder of the ingredients. Add the tofu triangles to the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and let the tofu marinate in the refrigerator for one hour making sure to flip the tofu at least once during that time.
Bake at 350◦ for 15 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Serve warm or at room temperature with a side of store-bought peanut sauce for dipping.