Do you know someone who does not like tofu? Maybe you would count yourself among them. Or maybe you love tofu but cannot convince others to give it a try.
I know plenty of people who turn up their noses when the word tofu is even mentioned. I understand - it is so, so easy for tofu to go wrong. It can be spongy and tasteless, mushy and tasteless, or just plain tasteless.
The trick to flavorful tofu with the perfect bite is to remove just the right amount of water from the block, allowing it to absorb more of the flavors around it. Recipes recommend anything from patting it dry with a towel, to pressing it between two dinner plates, to pre-boiling it.
If you want a fool-proof method of preparing tofu, though, you have to (HAVE TO) try marinating and baking it. Have you tried it before? Since my husband and I started using this method, we almost never serve tofu any other way. It is seriously so good that I have to hide it in the back of the fridge if I plan to use it for a meal later in the week. And even then, I have to fight myself from going back to the hiding place, standing with the fridge door open and eating the whole thing right there.
We have won over many, many tofu skeptics, people who brazenly profess their dislike and who need to be coaxed and prodded to try it, as well as those who politely taste a corner but plan on leaving it at that. I cannot tell you how many times we have been told, after serving tofu to friends and watching them come back for seconds and thirds, that our guests actually hate tofu in real life and had no intention of liking it this time. Sometimes, these tofu-haters even ask for the recipe.
Here is how we do it.
Make a marinade. Any marinade will do. This week, I used a recipe from the cookbook Vegan Vittles that included soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, lemon juice, garlic and ground ginger. You will need about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of marinade for a pound of tofu.
Slice the tofu to fit your container. I usually cut it into five or six slices. Lay the tofu flat in the container and pour the marinade over top. As with any marinade, you want to try to make sure that all of the slices are covered with the marinade. If they are completely covered, you will not have to turn them. Otherwise, I usually like to give them a turn at some point if I am around and think of it.
Marinate the tofu for at least twenty minutes or as long as you want. Because you are baking the tofu right in the marinade, you really do not need to marinate it for that long. But, of course, the longer the tofu spends in the marinade, the more flavorful it will be. I often put tofu in to marinate the night before just for the sake of convenience.
Pull the tofu out of the fridge and stick it in the oven at 350 degrees. If you use the right container, you can do this in one step. Ideally, the tofu should be in a single layer and should be at least partly covered by marinade. I actually transferred the tofu pictured above to a wider casserole dish because it looked a little crowded in the Pyrex.
Bake the tofu for forty minutes to an hour, turning it at some point in the middle of the cooking time. The tofu will be darkened in color and the liquid will be mostly or completely evaporated. Let the tofu cool and use it in your favorite recipe or just stand in front of the counter and try to stop yourself from eating the whole thing.
How about you? What is your favorite way to cook tofu? Have you had a really bad tofu experience?
P.S. I am linking up today with: