Many people are daunted by tofu. Some wonder what is it really made of, why does it taste like nothing, and how do restaurants make it look and taste so much more palatable than a white block of curd. In Urbndervish’s single days, his roommates would tease him about his baked “kilo of tofu”. He wouldn’t slice it, dice it, chop it or season it. Just bake it in the oven and pair it with some vegetable lo mein from the nearby ghetto Chinese Food joint. If you’re not as committed to tofu as him, you might want to try this delicious dish. 😉
Let’s start with the tofu basics. Firstly, if you want your tofu to have a chewable texture (and not just melt in your mouth), buy firm or extra firm tofu. For other reasons, look for tofu that’s non-GMO (genetically modified) and organic. Not only does it holds it own weight, it also has more calcium than the soft tofu. I prefer the tofu found in the refridgerator section because the boxed tofu on the shelf, no matter how firm its labeled, is never firm enough for my taste AND tofu in a box, on a room temperature shelf is just plain weird to me.
Another tried and true tofu trick is to freeze your tofu, then defrost it before cooking. After purchasing your tofu (no stealing tofu, folks!), you can store the packages in the freezer. Take it out of your freezer in the morning, place it in your sink or on a dishtowel on the counter, and it should be ready to cook by that evening.
Side Note: If you’re “out of the closet” with your plant-based diet, you might start receiving stories, tales, and emails about the “dangers of soy”. We wrote about this in a previous post but it’s worth noting that the healthiest soy foods are those that are fermented, like miso, tempeh, tamari, etc.. Imitation meat soy foods are the least healthy; like soy burgers, soy cheese, soy meats, etc. They are usually considered “transition” foods that serve as a crutch for new vegans but shouldn’t comprise the bulk of your diet in the long run.
In between healthiest and least healthy soy foods lie soy milk and tofu. Again, health and what’s healthy is very debatable so it’s good to remain informed but also see what works for you. We rarely eat imitation soy meats and one of our new home traditions (in addition to Festive Fridays) is Soy Saturdays. We eat tofu for dinner once a week and drink soy milk several times throughout the week. We’re hoping to incorporate more nut milks into our diet, like almond milk and cashew milk, in the near future. Nut milks are considered healthier but they have less protein than soy milk. Probably the best non-dairy milk I know of is hemp milk- it’s tasty, rich in omega fatty acids, rich in protein, but often expensive and not always easy to find. There’s also a prepared coconut milk that drinks smoothly like other non-dairy milks but I haven’t had the opportunity to try it yet. Also, expensive from what I know. So that’s to give the novice vegans a heads-up on soy. Back to the recipe? Ok! Ready. Set. Tofu!
2 packages of tofu
3 medium-sized tomatoes
1/2 medium-sized red onion
1 tablespoon (tbsp) fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 teaspoon (tsp) sea salt
8 tbsp coconut milk powder or 1 can of coconut milk (optional)
3-4 tbsp canola oil (any vegetable oil can be substituted)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
2. Squeeze the liquid from your blocks of tofu. (This should be easy if you froze and defrosted your tofu). Cut the tofu into slices
3. Place oil in a flat baking/roasting pan, add tofu, and flip the tofu over to coat both sides with the oil. Bake the tofu, turning it every 10-15 minutes until it’s browned to your liking
4. Put the remaining ingredients in a sauce pan on med-high flame and cover the pan. Let this cook until your sauce is well-simmered to your liking
5. Pour the sauce over your tofu and flip the tofu over. Let it bask in the delicious curry sauce for a bit before serving
– You can add other veggies to your sauce: green peppers, sliced carrots, etc. Remember, you’re the cook! Take up your spatula and trust your gut!