Printer Friendly

Tofu can be tantalizing.

Tofu Can Be Tantalizing

It looks so odd there in the produce section, nestled in with the Chinese vegetables: a white block in a carton of water. If appearance isn't enough to frighten off the uninitiated, there are those tales from the brave who attempted to make a meal from tofu. "It was," they explain with the drama of survivors, "like wet styrofoam!"

Precisely. But that's the beauty of tofu: it tastes like nothing by itself, so it can taste like anything when it's prepared. What other food can substitute for meat in a burger or stir-fry, for mayonnaise in salad dressings and sandwich spreads, for sour cream in stroganoff, and even for the cream cheese in cheesecake? No other food. Tofu wins for versatility hands-down. And it makes a good nutritional showing as well. Although not a low-fat food when compared with fruits, vegetables, and grains, it is substantially lower in fat than the meat and rich cheeses it can fill in for, and it is devoid of saturated fat and cholesterol. It is a rich source of protein and calcium, and it is easy to digest.

"Fine, but I'm not eating wet styrofoam." You don't have to. Properly prepared, tofu is as delicious as it is multifaceted. Remember the following ground rules:

1. Until you're a tofu connoisseur, choose the firm variety over the soft for all purposes.

2. Buy fresh tofu. Often Chinese markets are the best place to purchase it, but natural food stores and supermarkets stock it as well. Unless it's vacuum-packed, replace the water in the carton as soon as you get it home. Change the water every two days and try to use the tofu within a week.

3. Unless the recipe you're using calls for blended tofu, drain it well on cloth or paper towels before using.

4. Frozen tofu has a meaty texture that works like ground beef in chili and other vegetarian entrees, but freezing tofu properly is something of a job. Learn to work with fresh tofu first. When you advance to freezing, drain the block very well and cut into 1/2-inch chunks. Freeze on a cookie sheet and store in freezer bags. Before using, thaw and crumble.

5. When working with tofu, allow yourself to be liberal with seasonings. Remember, it has virtually no flavor of its own. Used in the upcoming recipes, though, it's the best Oriental import since the Toyota.


For dressing or dip, blend: 6 oz. drained tofu 1 tbsp. lemon juice 2 tbsp. oil 1/2 tsp. salt Dash pepper

Puree for one-half minute or until smooth. Variations: add 1/4 cup diced onion, 1/4 tsp. dill weed, 1 clove garlic, or 1 tbsp. chopped parsley. Yield: 1 cup. (Compared with ordinary mayonnaise, it has 1422 fewer calories, 15 grams more protein, and 165 grams less fat!)


8 oz. tofu 2 tbsp. miso 1 tbsp. oil Mayonnaise or tofu mayonnaise 4 slices whole-grain bread Finely chopped scallions

Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch slices. Mix together oil and miso (a Japanese seasoning paste made from soybeans found in health food shops or Oriental markets), and spread on tofu slices. Broil on an oiled or non-stick sheet without turning about 8 to 10 minutes until hot and fragrant. Spread mayonnaise on bread, and sprinkle with chopped scallions. Top with broiled tofu slices. (Variation: make open-faced sandwiches topped with sliced, sauteed mushrooms or sauerkraut.)


1-1/2 lbs. drained tofu 4 tbsp. oil 1 clove garlic, pressed 1 large onion, chopped 2 tbsp. dill weed 1 tsp. basil 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped 2 tbsp. tamari soy sauce 1 tbsp. prepared mustard 1 lb. fresh spinach, steamed 1 whole-wheat pie shell 1 tbsp. sesame seeds

Saute onions and garlic in 2 tbsp. of oil. When mixture is soft, add parsley and dill. Cook a few minutes, and remove from heat. Blend until smooth half the tofu in blender with 2 tbsp. oil and half the steamed spinach. Coarsely grate remaining tofu. Chop remaining spinach, and stir together with all other ingredients. Pour into pie shell. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top, and bake at 350[degrees] F., for 1/2 hour or until crust is golden brown.


1/2 lb. fresh strawberries, pineapple, or peaches 12 oz. chilled tofu 1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup Chopped nuts or sunflower seeds, optional

Combine all ingredients in blender, and puree until smooth. Top with seeds or chopped nuts. Serve immediately in two small dessert dishes.


1/4 cup mayonnaise or tofu mayonnaise 1/2 cup finely chopped celery 2 cups tofu (about a pound) 6 tbsp. nutritional yeast 1/4 tsp. cumin 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1/8 tsp. ginger 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. paprika

Mash tofu with fork. Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly, adjusting mayo and spices to taste. Makes 3-1/2 cups.


2 cakes firm tofu 6 oz. soy milk 4-6 tbsp. honey or rice syrup

Combine tofu, soy milk, and sweetener in blender or food processor until soft peaks develop. Chill until ready to serve as whipped cream topping for waffles or pie.


1 lb. tofu 1 to 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tbsp. safflower oil, optional

Steam tofu 3 to 4 minutes. Allow to cool. Blend with other ingredients in blender until completely smooth. Use as you would dairy sour cream on baked potatoes and the like -- this has one-third the calories!
COPYRIGHT 1990 Vegetus Publications
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:includes recipes; Culinary Vegetarian Delights
Author:Moran, Victoria
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Article Type:column
Date:Mar 22, 1990
Previous Article:Preventing deafness.
Next Article:Negaholics.

Related Articles
Vegetarian Recipes for Busy People.
Tofu toppings.
Oriental mock chicken salad in pita bread.
Limited vegetarian food service options frustrates reader.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters