Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Fresh Tofu

Woo-hoo! Jackpot!
Since my thoughts are on tofu, I stopped randomly at my favorite Asian grocer tonight, and they had just filled the bulk buckets in the cooler with
fresh tofu!!!

Their freshly-made (not the stuff in the little plastic box) tofu sells out within a couple HOURS, so I rarely manage to get my hands on any. You just grab a chunk out of the water with the tongs, put it in a plastic bag. and go!!

Tonight I stocked up (I have a lot of tofu to cook in the next few weeks, right?) - it keeps for quite a while if I put it in a Tupperware and change the water daily - and it freezes great!

If you've never had fresh (I mean REALLY amazingly fresh) tofu from a bulk bin or tub, I suggest you try it - it's SOOOOO good!
You'll probably have to locate an Asian market, or China-town-type neighborhood tofu shop, but if you're lucky enough - by all means venture in!!
If you're in Seattle, ABSOLUTELY check out ChuMihn Tofu Veggie Deli (and this great review by fellow Puget Sound area blogger Seattle Vegan Score/Anika).

Yes, it may sound a little scary to just grab a chunk of it floating around in a bin, but it's worth it (I always use fresh tofu in a cooked recipe, just to be sure, but I'm not really one to worry about that sort of thing...).
Trina, my Vietnamese friend, told me about this particular market - said they're known for having the best tofu in town.
I have to agree, and now I'm spoiled - this is the only way I'll buy the stuff if at all possible - completely different and a million times more tasty than tofu in a package (though I do use that too, and will give you some reviews/ideas later on).

 OK, so, what to do first?
(First, ignore my not-so-great-trying-to-be-creative picture...)

Not that I ever have ANY trouble finding a use for tofu, but Little Sprout wanted "Chicken Tofu Sticks" (with barbecue sauce of course!!) and since it's quick and simple and we were running late (hence, the super-late-posting of this page) - well, we basically made a meal of fried tofu sticks and salad. Maybe not the most healthy supper on the planet, but I can think of worse.

I'm not really sure where this recipe came from or if it ever WAS a recipe, but I've been fiddling with it for years (like most of my recipes); since my oldest still likes real (*gasp*) chicken when out with her Dad once in a while, I've tried to season these sorta the way she likes. And believe me, it gets requested first thing whenever she's home from college!!
Go with less cayenne or lemon pepper if you prefer. Cold, the next day, these things are very scarily chicken-like...

"Fried Tofu: Chik'n-Style"
  • 1/4 C. cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons cornmeal
  • 3 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup finely ground dry bread crumbs, crushed cornflakes, crushed pretzels or Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dry vegetarian "chik'n" bullion/broth powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • lemon pepper or regular pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup soymilk
  • 2 Tb. Vegenaise or other vegan mayo. of your choice
  • peanut oil for frying
  • 1 pound firm, as fresh-as-possible tofu, drained, blotted dry and cut into "sticks". 
  • OR frozen, thawed, pressed of excess liquid and cut into sticks. (I'll discuss freezing or not/pressing/draining in some future post)
In a small bowl, whisk the Vegenaise, soymilk and 2 Tb. nutritional yeast; in a separate dish, toss the cornstarch, breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast with the salt and spices.

Heat thin layer of oil in fry pan. (I know, I know!!)

Dip each tofu stick in the soymilk mixture to coat, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the mixture on. Carefully lower into the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes. Turn with tongs and continue cooking until they are golden brown. YES!! You may have to add more oil, sorry!

Drain on paper towels and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

**If you don't want to fry them, I will be posting a recipe that works better for baked tofu-sticks in a couple days - but these aren't too bad (just not real crispy) baked in the oven:

Bread the tofu sticks as directed, place on a cookie sheet and mist with a fine mist of oil, then bake for 25 min at 400 or until browned and dried/slightly-almost-crispy. 


Mattheworbit said...

It's amazing how different fresh tofu tastes - but I bet it's even better fried chicken style ;).

James makes fresh tofu on occasion - it's really hard to describe.. it has a savoury richness that the supermarket stuff doesn't.

Mel said...

I love the sound of this recipe, I'm not too shy to fry occasionally. I'll have to give this a try but I don't know of anywhere to buy fresh tofu so I'll have to stick to the regular stuff. I would love to try making my own tofu one day.

Vegangela said...

Fresh tofu! Lucky you! Your tofu chicken looks awesome. I've pinned it here to try later: http://pinterest.com/vegangela/vegan-mofo-2012/. Go Vegan MoFo :)

Lizzie Bordello said...

Oh my. I may have to rearrange my menu for the week to fit this one in right away! Yum!!

vegan.in.brighton said...

Fresh tofu! That's so cool, I've never seen it around here but when I do spot it I'll definitely be picking some up.

Dawn said...

You know I love from-scratch makin', Marti! But, I haven't done tofu yet. I, like you, buy it from my Asian market, and it's AMAZING. However, my market drains theirs, then wraps the pieces in plastic wrap, UGH. I SO wish they didn't do that. Anyway.

I just might try to follow your other post and make it myself. Winter project. If I can do tempeh, I can do tofu, right?

Otherwise, Mo'Fu for you :-)

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Mel said...

I made your fried chick'n recipe after making my first batch ever of home made tofu, it was a fantastic meal. Thanks for the tofu making inspiration and the fried chick'n recipe, it's really tasty!