Skillet # 10 - Alice's tofu "three ways"

 
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We were lucky enough to have Masters of Environment student Alice Trumble from the University of Melbourne come in and demonstrate a trio of tofu recipes that she's perfected over the years. The group learned the intricacies of tofu while baking, battering and frying it alongside different combinations of spices and ingredients. It was a pleasure having Alice facilitate and we hope to have her back soon.

Alice: "I am a passionate vegan who just wants to show people that food made from plants can be super delicious. I chose to demonstrate three different methods of cooking tofu as a way to advocate for what I believe is a sadly misunderstood food that just needs a little extra care in the kitchen"

Scrambled tofu:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 400g medium-to-firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 big handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 1/2 tbsp tamari or light soy sauce
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 2 sheets mountain bread, warmed

Method:

  1. In a frying pan over high heat, add the oil and the garlic and cook for 20 seconds.
  2. Add the curry powder and fry for 10 seconds. Break the tofu into the pan with your hands (but not too much; keep some texture).
  3. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes until heated through.Add the spinach and soy sauce and stir through.
  4. Cover the pan for 2 minutes to wilt the spinach, then tear in the mint leaves and serve with mountain bread.

 

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Italian marinated tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1x 500g block tofu, pressed, sliced into desired shape and fried in a pan with a little olive oil and salt until golden.

Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup or so olive oil
  • 2 x cloves garlic, grated or finely sliced
  • 1 x tbsp capers, chopped
  • 1/2-1 x tsp chili flakes
  • 1 x heaping tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 x tbsp Italian herb blend
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 x tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Heat fry pan over medium heat.
  3. After pan-frying, pop tofu and marinade together in a bowl/container and marinade for at least 15 mins (longer is always better).
  4. Transfer tofu to an oven-proof dish, and bake for 15-20 mins.
  5. Serve with yummy things like greens and couscous, rice or potato salad!
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Sticky double-battered tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 500g block tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 250 ml of neutral flavoured vegetable oil for shallow-frying (i.e. rice bran oil)

Dry coating:

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper

Wet batter:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 2-3 tsp soy sauce/tamari (to taste)
  • 1 cup water (can replace 1/2 of this with vodka, if you're feeling extra and want uber crispy tofu)

Sticky glaze:

  • 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp soy sauce/tamari (to taste)
  • 4-5cm ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 tbps sesame seeds (golden is fine, but a mixture of golden and black is better!)

Method:

  1. Combine ingredients for dry coating in one bowl, and ingredients for wet batter in another bowl (this should have the consistency of a thin pancake batter).
  2. Get your oil heating in a pan/wok.
  3. Toss cubed tofu in dry coating, ensuring an even coating.
  4. Dip tofu cubes in batter, ensuring an even coating. Allow excess batter to drip off and set aside on a plate.
  5. In batches, carefully add the battered tofu cubes to the hot oil. Fry until nice and golden, rotating each piece after a few minutes with a fork. 
  6. Remove from oil and place on a plate lined with paper-towel/tea-towel.
  7. Heat another pan to medium, and add a little bit more oil, along with the ginger. Allow to caramelize slightly.  
  8. Increase heat to high, add tofu cubes, along with the sticky glaze ingredients, and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  9. Serve with rice and greens!
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Hints:

  • Pressing tofu is easy and essential to remove moisture: just wrap it in a teatowel (or paper towels work too) and put something heavy on the full block for anywhere from 20 - 40 mins.
  • You can also freeze and defrost the block of tofu to help with the oven baking - it makes the tofu more porous and able to absorb more of the flavour.
  • You can customize the scrambled tofu to you liking just by adding different spices. Try some zaatar or maybe an Italian herb mix blend!
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