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Soy, sesame and spring onion tofu

December 21, 2008

“Tofu doesn’t taste like anything” is probably the most common thing I hear about tofu, although I suspect if people didn’t know I ate it, then the most common thing would be “ewwww.” Now, let me get something off my chest – I know tofu doesn’t taste like much, but it does have a very mild nutty/beany flavour. Sure, I wouldn’t want to eat it on its own, but even most meat lovers add flavourings to their meat. Vegetables get a similar reaction to tofu, but the truth is, very very few raw unseasoned foods taste like anything. So before you completely dismiss the taste aspect of tofu, try it with some flavour.

soysesametofu1Soy, sesame and spring onion tofu
a guide

Chop your tofu into cubes (the size doesn’t matter so much, but for a milder taste, cut bigger cubes). Soft tofu tends to be creamier, but more prone to falling apart. Soft or medium firmness tofu works best for this. Drizzle with your best soy sauce (Japanese tends to work well), enough to cover the entire surface area of the tofu cubes. Add a splash of sesame oil, a sprinkling of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and chopped spring onion (green part). Mix to cover the tofu in soy sauce, then let marinate for about 30 minutes (in fridge if you want it cold). Garnish with roasted black sesame seeds. Sliced avocado tastes delicious with this as well.

If making tofu cold, make sure you’re using tofu bought that day or before the best before if vacuum sealed.

A tofu guide (for Christchurch and cities without a proper chinatown/asiantown):

firm tofu (feels like a soft eraser) “gan zi” : good for stews, stir fries, and any situation where you want the tofu to keep its shape well.

recommended brands: tofu man, available at most asian supermarkets in their fridges.

regular tofu: usually comes in medium firmness, which you’ll find at normal supermarkets, or a softer creamier kind, which falls apart quite easily. Both are good used cold in salads, but will not maintain shape well. Good for tofu scrambles, soups, and can be ok for stir fries if you like tofu scramble.

recommended brands: bean me up (available at some supermarkets, asian dairies, restaurants), tofu man (available at asian supermarkets and dairies in the fridges)

fried tofu “dou pao”:  usually used in stir fries for asian vegetarian dishes at restaurants. This is just regular tofu deep fried, and has a golden “jacket.” Great for soaking up flavour in saucy stir fries.

recommended brands: only one I know well is tofu man

soy skins “dou fu pi”: you know the skin from the fat that can develop on milk? That stuff for soymilk is DELICIOUS. It’s not as gross as milk skin, I promise. It’s usually soft, pale yellow, and looks like wrinkled skin, and is great chopped up in stir fries.

find it: very rarely at asian supermarkets or tofu man (the factory) – in riccarton

tofu sheets “qian zhang” pronounced chyan tszung: these might look like sheets of fabric but they’re really sheets of extra firm tofu. They’re good for using in very saucy stir fries, noodly soups and sometimes fillings.

find it: tofu man at asian supermarkets in the fridges.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2008 6:23 pm

    I never quite understand why people don’t like tofu. It is essentially a sponge that soaks up just about any flavor you put on it. One of my favorite ways to make tofu is to do a spice rub and then bake it. Your tofu dish looks delicious. I’ll have to give it a try.

  2. December 21, 2008 9:05 pm

    Yum! I made this for lunch today and it was delicious! Thanks!!!

  3. December 22, 2008 2:14 am

    This is my favourite way to eat tofu, and the only tofu dish I would eat as a child. I ate it all mashed up, like cottage cheese, with savoury congee.

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