Thursday, December 06, 2007

Let's Talk Tofu!

I'm going to be honest. I'm not a huge tofu fan. I can have it out in a restaurant and enjoy it just fine but I hadn't had a lot of success cooking it at home. And Tim enjoys Tofu. It's certainly very healthy. As we head into the holiday season where eating delicious treats are as much a part of the season as Santa Claus and reindeer (which makes a lovely roast by the way, but that's another conversation altogether) I try to make sure we have healthy meals on the table in the time leading up to the actual holidays. So last night I attempted tofu again.

Armed with a recipe for Five Spice Tofu Stir-Fry from Weight Watchers magazine, Sept/Oct edition, I was prepared. I had extra veggies to add in, something I often do and I had soft tofu instead of extra firm but that was all I could find at the grocery store and it still felt pretty firm.

As per usual, I didn't follow the recipe but used it more as a guideline. First thing I learned this time was that tofu must be cooked in a little canola or vegetable oil (1/2 tbsp for about 1/2 lb) over a very high heat. I let the wok heat up over a medium high heat with the knob turned more to the high than the medium. Then I seared the tofu on all sides. It gives it a nice crispy outside. Take the tofu out of the pan, cook the rest of your veggies and such. Add the tofu back in at the end with any sauce to heat through.

The second thing I learned when cooking tofu is to marinate it. Tofu acts as a sponge for marinates. I marinated mine for the afternoon but not everyone is home in the middle of the day to put their tofu in marinade. I would say to prepare the marinade and tofu (cut it in chunks) the night before and then before you head out for the day, simply toss the tofu in the marinade and let it sit all day. There will be some serious flavour absorption. At the very least, if you can't get it together in the morning to get the marinating action started, when you come home get that tofu right in the marinade and let it sit for at least 30 minutes but preferably for an hour. Asian inspired marinades are the best starting place since tofu is often used in this style of food. Yes, you can cheat and use a bottled sauce just watch the sodium content. I had a nice Szechuan-style sauce I added into mine.

I have leftovers for lunch and I can't wait!

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