I am a newbie at cooking, baking, or whatevering tofu (as you can see by my yikes!-yellow tofu post) but long time vegan and tofu fan.
When I cook tofu (regardless of how) the outside seasons well but the inside never does. Will marinating it longer solve the problem? Is this even a problem at all or is this how it should be?
P.S. It tastes good all the same ;D
I useually dice my big tofu piece and marinate the cubes for 10-15 mins, I use different kinds of vinegar, limejuice, salt and herbs. Then I fry the tofu in the marinade, and add some more spices at the very end. That works for me anyway.
I've also had tofu cooked in sauce (tomato, soy, boullion...). If you crumble your tofu and soak it with marinade everything will get nicely flavoured, but cooking tofucrumbles is a bit complicated. unless you put them in a pie or soup. Uncooked, marinated tofucrumble is great in salads and sanwiches.
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Are you getting the water out before you cook it? I slice it is slices, wrap it in paper towels and then a dish towel, put them in a plate and put a stack of plates on top of that, for about 20 minutes to squeeze out the water.
This leaves room within the tofu for more marinade or stirfry sauce.
To answer your question however, no, it's not usually possible to flavor tofu through and through. It's like chicken in that respect in that the outside little bit is usually enough to make it flavorful. Obviously the smaller the pices the more surface for marinades.
Some marinades, especially Asian onces are so salty anyway you wouldn't want it through and through.
It is a surface area thing too. Sliced tofu always has more flavor than a block. It is a density of water issue too as firm takes up more liquid than soft which has more water and fewer solids.
The only way I know to flavor a whole block is to simmer it as a block. A crockpot on high will work and I use something like the following
a LOT of tamari or shoyu
fresh minced garlic
fresh minced ginger
rice syrup if you like it teriyaki
You'll want to cover the tofu with this mix and simmer with the cover on for several hours, at least 4 or 5. You want this mix pretty strongly flavored. To get it more flavored, you can press as much water out of the tofu as you can. Take a commercial block of extra firm, wrap in a clean towel and press is some more by putting it between cutting boards and weighting it, if you don't own a press.
When it comes out it is more rubbery and should be something other than white inside, a creamy color. This is not like baked tofu in quality either.
ALl that tamari means it is not cheap, but you can put the liquid in a freezer container and keep it, add more flavor and simmer tofu again. After all, no nasty animal products to go rancid.
Lady D! It's so nice to see you here again! I have been making your dry cheeze sauce mix & I am addicted to it! It is so yummy on so many things!
I hope you are well! Are you still in the front range area? Give an update if you're inclined.
Here is one of my favorite tofu marinates,I got it from Vegan With A Vengenace by Isa Chandra Moskowitz,though I left out the one half cup of mirin.
2T rice wine vinegar
1T sesame oil
2t asian chile sauce
1t fresh ginger,peeled and coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic,smashed
Pour over drained and pressed tofu cut into what ever size you want. Marinate for at least 30 minutes,I try to let it marinate as long as I can,sometimes overnight. Cook as wish,I usually pan fry, cooking the tofu in the marinate or grill on the gas barbeque.
You can multiply the ingredients to make as much as you like,I always make plenty so I have extra for rice,noodles or veggies.
I found my new fav way to cook/eat tofu - BBQ! First I freeze then thaw the tofu. Slice it in half (long ways) then into smaller triagle shapes. I coat eat piece with BBQ sauce and bake at 400 degrees - 15 minutes each side. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and a nice green steamed veg. Deee-lish!
the most important thing in marinating tofu is to make sure you get as much of the storage liuid out of it before marinating as possible
also you dont need as much acid in the marinade as you would for meat since you dont need to soften the meat as well
and as stated above, extra firm tofu marinates better than soft or silken tofu