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    • Thinking about starting a conversation on Cake with the title, “What to do with Tofu”. I’ve gone through culinary training and know that a lot of people don’t know how to prepare it. Getting the right textures and flavors is key. The bad thing about tofu is that it is so easy to create something disgusting that turns you off of it forever. Or, you got to a restaurant that serves it and you think there’s no way you can duplicate the dish. So I’m going to explain my thought process as I show you how to prepare something flavorable and achievable from your kitchen.

      The first rule I always follow is “buy extra firm”. The texture provides a better mouth feel and it’s easier to cut up into whatever sized chunks you want. I like to cut the thickness in half so that you have two equal rectangles. More surface area to cook evenly.

      Roasting over stir frying. I know stir frying is more the norm in Asian restaurants, but I am lazy and want to avoid the issue of drying out or burning it. Plus roasting allows more of the flavor from spices and vegetables to be infused into the tofu.

      Preheat an oven to 400°. In a roasting pan, toss the tofu with oil, Thai chili garlic paste, and a handful of garlic cloves cut in half. Cover and roast for 20 minutes.

      Toss in flavorable vegetables, such as white or red onions, green or yellow peppers. Add a sliced carrot, a half dozen to a dozen mushrooms, and half an avocado to increase the textures of the dish. Cover again and roast for 20 minutes.

      Now add some carbs to balance out the meal. I like to microwave a cut up sweet potato for five minutes to reduce the overall roasting time. Toss it and hot cooked rice into the pan. Add a jar of white cheese sauce (Alfredo, Parmesan) and a liberal splash of white wine. Sprinkle on curry powder and a pepper spice: I like dried chipotle pepper, but red pepper flakes, Cayenne pepper, or a pinch of Habanero will do. Mix the sauce and spices throughout the dish, cover and cook for ten minutes.

      Now remove the cover, mix it again, and cook uncovered for another ten minutes.

      Salt and pepper to taste. If you end up with leftovers, add more white wine, roasted red peppers, and half a bag of frozen chicken strips (or vegan “chicken” strips) for something different on night number two.

      Okay, vegans, vegetarians and foodies. Give me your best secret tofu dish.

      Shout outs to @amacbean16, @Chris, @gorudy, @Victoria, @wgoodey, @peach

    • trust tree time... I've never cooked Tofu but if someone has ideas on how to do a variation on this incredible dish from ZUMA which is lightly breaded and fried Tofu i'd love to learn.

    • I think you're right about why people usually don't like tofu. People just think of tofu as a health food, rather than a flavor carrier, which is a shame. It is really good about soaking up flavors. I like to press the tofu first. That drives out water, making it easier for the tofu to absorb flavors. Then cut it up and let it marinate. I usually use some combination of chicken broth, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger. Then I like to fry it in a non-stick pan for a few minutes on each side in sesame oil. Take that and throw it in ramen with a half-boiled egg. So good.

      Or you can just toss it in a hot-pot and let it stew. It soaks up the broth and it's great. Just be careful when you go to eat it, because tofu keeps heat for a long time.

    • I had to work on Saturday, so on my way home I picked up boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I tossed them with a dash of oil and white wine and cooked them in a separate pan at 300° for one hour, turning them once. This partially cooked them, but more importantly, most of the grease remained in the pan. I transferred them to a cutting board and sectioned each thigh. They then went in with the leftovers, plus some roasted red peppers and white wine. I also added the other half of the avocado. Forty minutes at 400° and we had a dish that had a pleasing roasted chicken flavor, with the spices providing subtle notes this time.

    • @wgoodey, I’m assuming if you wanted to make breaded and fried tofu you would use Japanese Panko. How do you adhere it to the tofu? If it was chicken, I would dip it in egg and then bread crumbs.

    • Roasted avocado? Really? Just in cubes and tossed in there?

      Yup, it adds a dense creaminess to any dish that has a sauce. Like tossed into a red sauce, plus a bag of Morningstar crumbles, and simmered for a half hour. Serve over pasta and then sprinkle the dish with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

      It’s important with a pasta sauce to get the avocados as ripe as possible: I like for it to end up blended into the sauce. For the tofu dish above, I prefer for it to be firmer.

    • Bon Appétit magazine doesn’t mess around with their recipes. It’s high-end restaurant grade cooking with restaurant grade exotic ingredients: the first three recipes call for items such as ghee, Persian cucumbers and polenta. A half hour of constantly whisking the polenta for the Miso Polenta dish. I made ghee once from butter and it’s labor intensive. At the same time, I felt a throwback to the 1970s with their Creamed Spinach with tofu dish.

      And then I met this dish, Crispy Tofu with Coconut Quinoa and Broccolini. Broccolini is a much more flavorful cousin to broccoli. And quinoa is an upgrade over brown rice. A peanut sauce with coconut flakes creates a unique profile to the dish. They even have wordless videos after each prep step.

      There’s a lot of techniques shared here that can be used effectively in preparing other ingredients for recipes.

      For example, ingredients will grill, brown or crisp evenly if you dry them and remove as much moisture as possible. They put the tofu on paper towels and then sprinkled with Kosher salt. You can do that with sliced eggplants before grilling. The larger sized flakes of Kosher salt means that you can wipe them off easily after the moisture has been removed. Shrimp also grills better when dry, although I would skip the salt and just dry on paper towels.

      Rinsing quinoa, or any grain such as jasmine rice for sushi, will help to remove the natural coating that can cause a rice dish to taste bitter.

      My one suggestion with this dish is to chop, rinse and measure out all of your ingredients before you start tossing stuff in the pan. There’s a lot of cook this in the pan, set aside, cook something else, then add the first ingredient back, then remove both and cook something else, that you will end up with a dish served warm—not hot—if you prep as you go.

      I’ll try making Crispy Tofu with Coconut Quinoa and Broccolini later this week and share a photo of my creation, which may not look as photogenic as Bon Appétit’s food porn images but hopefully achieves the expected taste experience.

      Anyone else willing to try one of the recipes and share their culinary experience?