Do you remember the first time you tried tofu? No? Yea, me neither. I vaguely remember when I first started being aware of its existence and vaguely remember thinking “ewwwww.” Of course the first time I learned how babies were made I probably thought the same thing. Regardless, tofu has come a long way in the last decade. Although it’s basic composition (if you will) hasn’t changed much, its acceptance as more than just some “hippie” food has and you can find it served in varying ways throughout a number of different restaurants.
Tofu doesn’t have to be served on seeded bread with alfalfa sprouts and shredded cabbage.
Mostly, tofu seems to show up as cubes, marinated in teriyaki sauce or something similar. And occasionally, it will be grilled and served as an option for a salad addition instead of chicken. Sometimes you see it crumbled and offered in place of ground beef in Mexican restaurants. But, my favorite way to eat tofu is cut into a thin slab, grilled, and nestled into a ciabatta with pickles and tomatoes, sauteed onions and mushrooms … or hell, why not pull out a sesame seed bun—just hold the special sauce, of course 😉
While there are all kinds of tofu on the market, these are the three varieties you are most likely to see, and most likely to use. Learn more about the varieties at TofuPedia.com.
- Silken: the softest (hence the term “silk”) it’s perfectly blendable (not a real word) and best used to thicken and “cream” soups, dressings, smoothies, pasta sauces etc.
- Firm: packed in water (which you press out and discard before use), firm tofu soaks up seasonings and marinades well and can be used for just about anything: scrambles or quiches instead of eggs, spreads and dips, or fried, sauteed, or prepped (like I said) for just about anything.
- Extra-firm: similar to firm only, yea you guessed it, firmer (is that even a word?). I prefer to use this over firm for grilling, baking and in place of any and meat in dishes like stir fry or pastas.