Most people I speak to about tofu have never tried it or either refuse to try it for whatever their reasons. The first time I tired tofu, I spit it out in shock and disgust. I was maybe 9 or 10 years old and I remember the tofu had a soft texture but tasted like dill pickles. Luckily I was at a friend’s house and my severe rejection of the dish didn’t offend anybody. More than a decade passed before I tried tofu again.
The first night Amy cooked for me she made stir fry. It was also the first time Amy and I went grocery shopping together, which is now one of our favorite things to do. It’s actually an inside joke of sorts because I was astounded by how huge the grocery store was and Amy couldn’t figure out why I was so excited. When I told her I was from a one horse town in nowhere Texas I meant it. We browsed leisurely about the grocery store gathering the ingredients she needed for dinner and I was literally having the best time of my life. Then Amy put tofu in the cart and my heart sank a little. How was I gonna pull off liking tofu on a date without embarrassing myself? I mulled this over on our way back to Amy’s condo and as we carried the groceries upstairs I told myself I would just have to chew and sallow as fast as possible. I helped Amy unpack the groceries, she poured us a glass of red wine, and I sat down and thought how lucky I was to be dating a woman who knew how to cook dinner. I was also hoping I didn’t ruin it all over some freaking tofu. Amy whisked together a homemade sauce, pan fired the tofu, and then stir fried red bells, broccoli, lots of garlic and purple onions. I admit I was wicked skeptical about the tofu due to the traumatic memory I had of it but when your in love, like I was with Amy going outside your comfort zone isn’t that scary anymore. Besides the stir fry smelled amazing which gave me hope. We sat down at the table and as I took that first bite of Amy’s pan fried tofu my hands started sweating.
As I slowly chewed the tofu, I felt relief. It was crisp on the outside because of the pan sear and chewy on the inside like a chicken nugget and had absorb quite a bit of the spicy sauce Amy made. It was delicious! I gobbled the rest of my stir fry and if I hadn’t been on a date I probably would have licked my plate and greedily taken seconds. Over the years, Amy and I have perfected our tofu game. We have even figured out how to make it taste just like fried chicken. I love tofu now and always keep a stash in the freezer. So if you don’t think you’ll like tofu or you tried it once and thought it was gross or if you just haven’t given it a go yet, I encourage you to try the recipe below and give tofu a second chance. It’s extremely versatile and acts like a blank canvas for flavor much like rice and potatoes. Once you are comfortable cooking with it, let your tofu adventure begin!
1 package NASOYA Organic Extra-Firm Tofu, sliced into triangles
Note: freezing tofu will firm up the tofu even more, which I prefer. Pop the tofu in the freezer overnight and then remove the following morning so it can defrost. Proceed with your favorite recipes.
2 tablespoons Chinese 5 Spice powder
1 tablespoons Grape Seed Oil
1 Toasted Sesame Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Masa flour
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
In a mixing bowl add the Masa flour, cornstarch, and the 5 spice powder and toss tofu until evenly coating. In a cast iron skillet or large sauté pan, heat the Grape Seed and Toasted Sesame oil until the oil begins to ripple. Fry the tofu in batches until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle fried tofu with salt and pepper immediately after removing from the skillet. Serve tofu hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
Note: Preheat oven to lowest setting and place fried tofu on a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm until ready to serve.
Peanut Cashew Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon dry roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon dry roasted cashews
1/4 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 green scallion, chopped
Crush peanuts and cashews. In a med storage container add the crushed peanuts, cashews, remaining ingredients. Stir until well combined. Cover and allow sauce to marry in fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with fried tofu or fresh spring rolls.
Spicy Sriracha Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup Sriracha Hot Sauce
1/4 cup low sodium Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Garlic Chili Sauce
3 to 4 dried Arbol chilies broken into several small pieces
1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
1 green scallion, chopped
Reconstitute the dried arbol chiles in the 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil. Add the chiles and Sesame oil in a med storage container along with remaining ingredients. Cover and allow sauce to marry in fridge at least 30 min before serving. Serve with fried tofu or fresh spring rolls