Tofu is a great thing. It’s a staple dish, and serves as an excellent alternative to meats. It comes in varying forms of solidity and hardness, can be served hot or cold, savory or sweet, as a main feature or as an additional ingredient. It keeps well in the fridge, and if bought in ethnic groceries, is relatively light on the wallet.
Tofu comes in three basic forms;
Hard tofu, which is commonly stir-fried and is the most popular choice as a meat substitute. This tofu can handle the most roughhousing.
Medium tofu, which is versatile in its usage. This tofu is a popular do-it-all tofu, and can be used in everything from curry to salads.
Soft (silken) tofu, which has the consistency of soft-boiled egg whites. This is the tofu you’’ll see in miso soups. This type is my personal favorite.
There are also sub-types of tofu; firm silken, curdled medium block, fresh custard, and so on. So long as you keep to the cooking rules, any consistency will do.
Tofu is mostly sold in water, so you’ll need to drain the block if you wanna cook it. Tofu isn’t the best at absorbing flavor, and the wetter it is, the less flavor it’ll soak up. Drain a (hard/medium) tofu block by squishing it gently between paper towels. Or alternatively, leave it pressed between paper towels under the weight of a book. If it’s too soft for a good squeezing, blotting works fine. Silken tofu is the exception, because it’s often just diced up and served as is, or gently placed into a soup.
Stir-frying and pan-cooking tofu requires a high heat pan. Chinese woks, the traditional cookery for tofu, is designed to cook very hot and very fast. A cube the size of a die takes roughly 5 minutes to cook. Add plenty of spices and sauce for a dish that’ll go great with rice.
Mariante tofu in mixtures of soy sauce, sesame oil, hot peppers, fruit juices, and beyond for at least 30 minutes, or ideally overnight in the fridge. These can of course be stir-fried, or baked in the oven.
And of course, silken tofu is a great dish on its own, if dressed heavily with sauces. Alternatively, silken tofu makes a wonderful addition to a flavorful broth.