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How to prepare and love tofu

Tofu is a great ingredient. I didn't like it at first either - it was tasteless, spongy, bland... until I learned how to prepare it properly.

I often hear that people don't like tofu, they avoid it and don't give it a chance in recipes, which is a shame because it can really do anything, and it's also very healthy. Here are the basic principles.

Tofu is not like cheese

The most common mistake is to prepare tofu like cheese - minimal or no baking and zero seasoning. Tofu should rather be thought of as "meat" - which means using spices to set the flavor and cooking it well. And the first step is draining - the tofu comes in a packet with water that needs to be poured out and the tofu needs to be drained a little. Wrap it in paper towels or a cloth and press with your hands or a heavy object so that more liquid comes out. I just squeeze it a little between my palms.

Spice it up

Given the neutral flavor and spongy texture of tofu, spices can dictate its taste. The base is always a bit of soy sauce, salt, pepper and oil. For a meaty flavor, combine garlic powder and red smoked paprika powder. For an Indian taste, use turmeric and garam masala. It can also be marinated, for example, in a mixture of oil, soy sauce, maple syrup and mustard. There are really many options and it's hard to go wrong - the worst option is to leave it unseasoned.


The second step is the coating tofu in something that will give it a crunch when baked. In the case of rich spices use or soup-like dishes, the coating can be skipped. In the case of baking, the most common choice is a little starch - cornstarch or tapioca. So, cut tofu into cubes, season as desired, sprinkle with starch and shake so that all the cubes are coated in starch, and then bake in the oven, on a pan or in a deep fryer.

Other coating options are ground seeds, ground nuts or breadcrumbs. Breaded tofu (vegan, egg-free) is made by rolling seasoned tofu first in starch, then dipping it in vegetable milk and finally in breadcrumbs (or seeds, cornflakes, etc.).

Types of tofu

There are several types: soft fresh tofu, firm fresh tofu, smoked tofu and silken tofu. All of these types can have variations - like added spices, pre-sliced and marinated, and so on. Soft raw tofu crumbles nicely, so it's great for fillings, for example, for vegan cabbage rolls, bolognese and savoury pies. Firm raw tofu is best for baking and breading. Smoked tofu has the aroma of smoke (logically) and finely imitates dried meat products. Silken tofu has a structure like a thick pudding and is great for making creams in cakes or imitating cottage cheese.


Fresh tofu can be frozen. The ice will change its structure a little, make it a little "meatier" when it thaws. Some people like this kind of tofu the best.


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