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Tofu Tips for newbie?

My husband and I have been vegetarians for around 8 years.  I have yet to try tofu!  I know, it's sad!  ::) I have no idea how to prepare it.  I've read here that freezing, thawing then pressing is the way to go - to get a more meat-like texture.  Do you have any helpful tips to share for a tofu newbie? ???  Also, once pressed/sliced can you re-freeze it to use later or should I use it right away?

Thanks! :)


My BF and I have been veg for about 3 years now and I fix tofu probably 2 days a week.

This sounds kind of lazy, but it's my favorite way to make tofu!

I simply slice extra-firm tofu (not silken, the other that comes in tubs).  I let it drain a bit, then place in a glass dish.  Sprinkle with Bragg's, black pepper, garlic powder (or fresh garlic), cayenne pepper (I like it hot), and (what makes it good, I think) cheap-o McCormick's poultry seasoning (doesn't have chicken, just herbs that you'd use with poultry).

I let it set out covered at room temperature for about 1/2-1 hour, then bake on a oiled, foil-covered cookie sheet at  400 for 20 minutes.  Flip over then another 15-20 minutes or until brown.

I usually serve this on top of salad and "ranch" dressing, or when I'm REAL hungry, topped with mushroom gravy (with mashed potatoes and other veggies on the side!).

I think you'll like it, my BF loves it and we usually finish the whole block of tofu at one sitting.

Hope this helps! 

BTW, sometimes I do freeze the tofu and then thaw, squeeze out the moisture, then marinate.  Haven't frozen sliced tofu, would probably work fine!

:)  Martha Clark
    Austin, TX


Thanks Martha!  :) I found a General Tso's tofu recipe here that I think I'll try.  Sounds tasty!


Great recipe...I have started buying tofu here whenever I can get to the Asian market which is like once a month...the problem is I don't read Chinese and some of the labels are sketchy in other languages at best. They sell something that in Spanish is labelled as "smoked tofu." It is about 1/2" thick, very dry, and comes in little squares, about 12 squares to a package. It didn't taste smokey to me, but one of the ingredients listed is soysauce. It's dark brown on the outside and sort of ivory within. Is this what smoked tofu looks like out there, or is this just sort of super-pressed?
In my ignorance at first I thought it was tempeh...nope, found out what that is on the Web thanks to y'all.


Yabbitgirl, that smoked tofu sounds great!

I haven't seen anything like that around here.  I've seen Barbecue flavor and Thai flavor, but don't care for it much.

Cherbear, I'm hoping to try the General Tso's Tofu myself maybe this weekend.  It has such great reviews...maybe I'll fix it tomorrow while watching World Cup!  :)



One simple think I do with tofu is (like Yabbitgirl) start with extra firm tofu,
drain it and even press out the water a little. (Do this by putting it between to
plates and put a pound or two of some weight on top of the top plate. You can
used some dried beans or lentals to act as the weights).

After pressing for an hour or so (in the fridge) let the tofu sit in some soy
sauce mixed with fresh ground ginger over night (again in the fridge). Now you
can simply heat it in a pan or fry it a little and use it as the protein part of
some meal.

Here is a second idea for tofu. This time start with silken tofu and several very
ripe bananas. You should have equal amounts of tofu and bananas (by weight). Put
the bananas and tofu into a kitchen mixer and blend very well. For 1/2 pound of
tofu, 3 or 4 bananans should do. Now, take some almond butter and blend it down
with some almond oil (okay, this stuff is expensive) so the almond butter is
more liquid like. Perhaps a 1/2 or 3/4 of a cup of the mix to the 1/2 pound of
tofu and 3 to 4 bananas is about right. You could also add a little vanilla extract
(to taste). Put the mix into nice wine glasses and let it firm up in the fridge.
Top with some sliced up strawberries or blue berries and serve cold. A nice desert in
the summer time.


Brad that pudding idea sounds lush. I wonder if the almond oil they sell in our pharmacies would be edible? they sell it by volume, and it's called "sweet almond oil." They usually sell it for delicate skin, like women breastfeeding when the skin cracks etc. Yeah, I know, ASK the pharmacist, silly yabbit! ::)I don't have a home mixer but I bet a handblender would work. Gotta try this, as well as the previous recipe, somebody please post them as recipes so we can have em on file!


I agree with Brad, pressing tofu makes it much more meat-like in texture and also makes the texture more appealing. I couldn't handle tofu until I started pressing it. After pressing it for 30 minutes on each side, you can slice it up, fry it, or bake it. Baking the tofu (a little oil and tamari or garlic) at 350 for 15 minutes per side makes it a little more toothsoome as well. Try pouring some barbeque sauce over it the tofu after baking and pop it back in the oven for 15 minutes.

One of the easiest things you can do with silken tofu is make chocolate cream pie. Simply melt a 12 oz. bag of vegan chocolate chips in the microwave and whizz it in a food processor with a block of firm silken tofu. Add some sugar if you like (a few tablespoons) or some orange zest. Pour it into a prepared pie shell (or a bowl) and let set. After a couple of hours, it will magically firm up and have a wonderful fudgy texture. Everyone I serve this to LOVES it and no one suspects there's tofu in it.


I'm with yabbitgirl, please Brad & veggievulture, post both these recipes. I have to try them!


I was blessed enough to be raised on tofu so I'll eat it in any form. The good thing is that you can't really undercook won't harm you...its basically like cooking any vegetable, if you don't cook it long enough the texture is a little different but you can still eat it.

I don't have a lot of time so I usually don't press it, I just cut it up and throw it into whatever I'm making.

My tip for newbies is to smash it really small and mix it in with one of your favorite dishes..maybe one that would otherwise call for meat.

Another tip I usually give is to go to a restaurant and try it in a dish, such as a thai restaurant, or my favorite, BD's Mongolian Barbeque. This way you can taste it in a good sauce  by people that know what they're doing with it. Then you will get an idea for what tastes good with it, and what texture it should be when its done. (another good way to try it is fried, in a Thai dish!)


I've been vegan for 1,5 years now, and I try to eat tofu as much as possible. Me and my friends came up with this recipe when we were staying in a friends hous far out on an island. we call it...

Tofu à la lazy girls with no ingredients

Dice one pack of extra firm tofu and put it in a small bowl. Make a nice marinade by pouring balsamico vineagar, olive oil and japanese soy on the tofu until you like the taste of it. Now spice it up with a pinch of sugar, rosemary, ground black pepper, salt, ground cumin and all other spices you like (when I feel creative I useually go for curry/cayenne/chili/tumeric and a beautifully pink tandoori-spice I found at home).
Now take a frying pan and add a tny bit of oil. Slice one or two red peppers and fry them til they're starting to get soft. Then in goes the marinated tofu and all the marinade. fry until the tofu is slightly brown, but beware of burnt tofu, it's nasty!

Also I like to slice extra firm tofu, fry it with whatever spices and sauces I feel like, and then making a fake burger-sandwich by taking nice healthy bred, sperading on some guacamole, add salad, tomato, onion, whatever and then finish it of with a slice of tofu. delicious!

hope that helped!


To Yabbitgirl: I'm not sure about the almond oil you get in a pharmacy. Your
comment about asking sounds good. I get my almond oil from Whole foods, which
has a very extensive selection of (expensive) oils. I use the almond butter and
almond oil trick to make squash soup much thicker and richer also. I adds a texture
to both the soup and pudding that makes it seem much more satisfing and filling. It
should as you are basically adding protein and oil to the dish. The trick in both
cases is to really blend it into the soup/pudding well. Almond butter is like
peanut butter and can be sticky and hard to mix. The dishes should have no almond
butter lumps, as that gives away the fact that you have thicken up the soup/pudding
with something. Your guests should have the idea that is soup is thick and rich,
but it is not clear what is added to it. Finding a lump of almond butter give away
how the dish was made. Along those lines, if you use a hand mixer, be prepared to
spend some time mixing away. The bananas also what to be smoothly mixed with the
tofu and almond butter.

To Jessesmum: I have (in my posting) given the recipes. I use very informal recipes
and don't really measure everying I add to things I make (okay, I do measure some
things, but not in the pudding recipe). If you have a question, ask away. I
encourage people to be creative (and couragious) in the kitchen.


Brad, I could very easily write down the pudding recipe & hope that I don't lose it...I really should organize my recipes! :) Having it in my recipe box is sooo much easier ;D
Question...I usually buy almond silken the sweet nutty taste! If I use this in the recipe, along with almond butter & almond oil, will it over-power the bananas?


I don't think I have tried almond silken tofo, so I'm not sure. If you want more
of a banana taste, just increase the amount of bananas. Since I made up the
recipe, there is nothing special about 1/2 bananas, 1/2 tofu. I just seems to work.
One other thing I have noticed that if the bananas are not ripe, they don't add
as much flavor. When I eat a bananas on it's own, I like them a just starting to
turn ripe. When I have a couple of bananas around that have gotten to ripe, I make
pudding. As the bananas getter riper, they get sweeter and add more flavor. Very
ripe bananas seems to make the pudding a darker color, but that is just looks and
not flavor. If you want to add extra sweetness, a little rice syrpu (or maple
syrup) is also possible to add.


I'm part japanese my mom being japanese so we've always eaten tofu.  I think the best way to eat it is to eat it right out of the box.  We usually slice it into about 3/4 inch cubes and put some grated ginger and "nori" (seaweed) on top. It's also best to eat it cold with a little soy sauce on the side, to dip into.


Thanks for the idea puff2etc...I've often wondered how they eat it "at home." Seems like you can do just about anything With tofu, it's very obliging stuff, but simpler is often better. Must try this!
We don't have access to all the wholefood/natural foods stores y'all do in the States and other, more veggie-conscious countries, so I have to go basic--no almond tofu here either! Have seen some imported herbed tofu in the Santiveri shop (general food supplements, some natural foods) but very, very expensive! Partly because it's all imported, but mostly because they have the monopoly of very limited supply to a growing market. You wouldn't believe what they want for a quart of Rice Dream, it's like $3 :o.


Wow!!  Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful tofu ideas!  I can't wait to try them!  ;D  I recently decided to switch from a lacto-ovo diet to vegan so I'm adapting my recipes to fit my new lifestyle.  Wish me luck! :)

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