• To Tofu or Not To Tofu

    by Jon on May 4, 2008 · 6 comments

    I want to share a recipe for tofu. If your eyes glaze over at the mere word of the squirmy practically tasteless stuff, please permit me to try and convert you. There was a time, not very long ago, when I wouldn’t go near it with a ten foot pole. I used to buy it and then I would woefully neglect the packages that would accumulate in my frig – thinking I’d soon break down and figure out what to do with the stuff. I wanted to like it, but just couldn’t get over the hump of how it looked. I threw out a lot of those packages. If I’d only known….

    Then something changed. Not sure what precipitated it but I decided to experiment. Lo and behold, I now have a few really delicious tofu recipes.

    My newest addition is a combination of two recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin. This is a wonderful resource. This author really helped me transition to a more plant-based diet. I still eat meat now and then, but mostly when we’re at a restaurant and I don’t feel there are any other reasonable gluten free options.

    Curried Tofu “Eggless” Salad
    adapted by Ellen Allard, from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures

    1/2 lb extra-firm tofu
    1 1/2 tsp canola oil
    3 tbsp mayonnaise (I used Vegannaise)
    3/4 tsp curry powder
    1 celery rib, very finely diced
    1 small carrot, grated
    1 1/2 tbsp raisins
    2 tbsp red onion, very finely diced
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    Place the tofu in a cotton towel, gather the sides and squeeze the water out of the tofu. Put the tofu in a bowl and crumble with your hands.

    Heat the canola oil in a large, non-stick skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the tofu and stir it in order to keep it from sticking. Using a spatula, flatten it, then flip it to get all the surfaces evenly golden brown and crisp. This will take about 10 minutes.

    Pour the tofu into a bowl and allow it to come to room temperature. Then stir in the remaining ingredients and chill for about an hour.

    Arrange artistically on a bed of lettuce or slap it between two pieces of toasted gluten free cinnamon bread (Bob’s Red Mill mix). Pat yourself on the back. You’ve come a long way baby.

    { 5 comments… read them below or add one }

    Stephanie May 5, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Deborah Madison, the author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, a cookbook I adore, also published “I can’t believe this is Tofu”. I love this book, and highly recommend it for anyone struggling to find ways to cook the stuff!

    BTW, our house is vegetarian, my husband is not. Here’s my completely random, exhausted concoction that first had him say “Honey, you haven’t made tofu in a while”:

    2 cubes of silken tofu (I get the fresh tubs from Asian markets, but Mori-Nu would work)
    Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
    Rice Vinegar
    Mirin (sweet rice wine)

    Wrap the tofu in a dishtowel, place on a cutting board, put another on top, and leave it until you’re ready to cook. (Even a little time will help.)

    Dice it into, well, the size of large dice. Maybe 1/2 inch? Not a science.

    Toss it into a pan with a drop of your favorite oil at medium/medium high heat. The first side may sear, then turn it and let it sit until much of the liquid is gone.

    Add whatever quantity of Bragg’s, Rice Vinegar and Mirin seems right 🙂 I’d guess I add about 2T of each, but I never measure these things! A little more Mirin than the others.

    Leave it there, turning the tofu occasionally, until it’s nearly dry. I sometimes turn up the burner a little at the end and try to brown the sides, but it’s not necessary.
    Turn off the burner, wait until the tofu stops moving (it dries up a little more sitting there). Then eat!
    I like to add some of my little bottle of Japanese spices…I don’t know what it is, sorry!


    Ellen May 5, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Stephanie,

    I’m a huge fan of Deborah Madison and I own Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for her Tofu book you recommend. Thanks also for your tofu recipe. Sounds like a winner!


    Catherine May 31, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Tofu can be great sometimes but I can see why it doesn’t appeal to everyone…



    samantha elise June 10, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    i believe canola oil IS NOT gluten free, or at least for some people?

    i may be wrong, but i avoid it in most of my recipes for my boyfriend cause I was told that.

    cute blog btw, i love great idea!


    Ellen July 10, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    Samantha – I believe that canola oil is gluten free. I’ve been using it since my diagnosis and haven’t had any problems. I remember hearing, back when I was first diagnosed, that someone thought it wasn’t gf. But I haven’t heard it since and am REALLY careful about being gf and I haven’t had a problem with it. Just my two cents.


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