Guest Author - Jason Hodge
I just had one of my cousins ask me how in the world to make tofu taste like something other than eggs. No matter what they seasoned it with, there was always this after taste and texture of scrambled eggs. Here's what I told them to fix that common problem.
A quick tidbit of info on what tofu actually is. Tofu is to soy milk what cheese is to milk. It's a byproduct of the separation of the milks' components. Just like cheese comes out of the curdling process when the milk is separated into curds and whey, tofu comes out of the curdling process when soy milk is separated into its curds and whey, its just non-dairy.
One of the biggest and most common challenges is getting flavor into the tofu without it having that 'eggy' flavor or texture. You put in all of the effort to put seasonings into your tofu; sauces, shakes, rubs and the like and by the time your finished you have all of that good seasoning rolling around the outside of your tofu while the inside still maintains its scrambled or hard boiled egg consistency where the flavor hasn't begun to reach.
What can you do!?
Here's how you can conquer your tofu woes...
1. The first thing you do is once you get your tofu home from the market, freeze it. you're going to freeze it to change its texture and ability to hold flavor, color and shape.
2. Next, you take it and thaw it in the fridge (may take a few days to completely thaw this way), under cold running water (could take an hour+ this way) or if you're going to use it right away quickly thaw it under running hot water. (I know this may sound dangerous, but remember for one that it's a vegetable protein that you're using right away, as opposed to having it sit around traveling into the food safety danger zone. It's the equivalent of taking a frozen piece of tofu and throwing it into soup and allowing it to thaw while it's cooking. There's not enough time for bacteria to build up in it and multiply causing the dangerous risk of food borne illness you get by eating spoiled food.) I do this when I need it right away and don't have the 2-3 days to thaw the tofu in the fridge. It takes a few minutes and then it's ready to be incorporated it into my dish.
3. Squeeze out all of the extra liquid from the frozen and thawed tofu and you're ready to go. From here you can pretty much write your own ticket of what you want this tofu to do for you. [Keep in mind that this is for when you're going for a meaty texture. Don't use this method if you don't want your tofu chewy and meaty.]
4. Lastly, you layer your flavors. Use your seasonings, marinades, sauces, etc. and begin to infuse your tofu with flavor. Onion, garlic, peppers, greens, whatever makes your ideal seasoning sing. I usually start by caramelizing my onions to get that sweet/savory flavor and aroma, then I add my frozen, thawed and squeezed tofu to it and cook it down until it gives me my desired texture. That's when I really pour on the love and add my sauces, greens, etc. Take a look at this article on working with your tofu. You'll get more of an understanding of the processes.
By the time you're finished with this... you won't have to worry about there being an 'egginess' to your tofu; unless you plan it that way.
As always, it's been my pleasure sharing with you. Until next time...