Did You Stock Up On Tofu? Here Are 14 Tofu Recipes Plus Extra Ideas to Use It Well

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Tofu variety

Going to grocery stores during the past seven days, I expected a low or no inventory of non-perishables like beans, pasta, rice and canned tomatoes. That was true, as people stocked up for potential quarantines and shelter-in-place orders due to the coronavirus pandemic. What I didn’t expect was a run on tofu. Maybe it’s just my location — the Bay Area, but perhaps people have warmed up to tofu as part of their everyday eating. I hope it’s the latter because tofu is a versatile plant-based protein that keeps for a long time — months if you’re talking about the water-packed refrigerated kind. The boxed, shelf-stable stuff keeps for much longer, but it  doesn’t taste great; I consider boxed tofu as emergency last resort tofu.

I always keep tofu on hand and mostly buy it at regular markets like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. (An Asian market or tofu maker is far from my home. I do make tofu on occasion, too.) My family has been using Trader Joe’s tofu since the 1980s, and my mom still swears by it. 

Admittedly, I bought a little extra tofu this past week. Some of the packages say they’re good into May. If you stocked up on tofu, here are fourteen (14!) recipes on this website plus lots more in my books. If you don’t have all the ingredients to make these recipes, bookmark this page and return to it.  

Mapo Tofu 

Few people don’t enjoy this hearty,  spicy classic! For my Asian Tofu cookbook, I traveled to Chengdu in Sichuan to taste the original version of mapo tofu, and learn from local cooks. That’s how I developed the recipe for the book. I shared it on VWK a few years ago so you can make it too. Jump to my Best Mapo Tofu recipe

The iconic Chinese tofu dish is made with ground meat (beef is best!). If that’s not your liking, try this Vegetarian Mapo Tofu recipe that I created. It’s built for omnivores and showcases that the Sichuan classic can be tweaked.

Want to get more creative? Make Mapo Tofu Lasagna. I used regular and firm tofu for it to mimic a ricotta-like texture. The lasagna makes a lot and reheats well.

Mapo tofu
Mapo tofu lasagna

Extra-Firm Tofu Recipes

Most people fear using softish tofu because they think it’ll fall apart. It’s not a big deal if it does. But for a sturdy bet cook with extra-firm tofu, which is nice for pan-frying, for example. 

If you have VFAD, try the Shaking Tofu (page 149) and Spicy Sweet Pomegranate Tofu (page 153) recipes. Both involve lightly seasoning and frying tofu cubes, then enrobing them in a delicious sauce. It’s an easy, surefire playbook for tofu dishes. A few VFAD readers have gravitated toward shaking tofu.

Shaking beef!

On VWK, consider making the Thai Spicy Tofu and Basil Stir-fry. If basil isn’t around, use mint. For a different kind of heat, go for the Kung Pao Tofu recipe. You won’t miss the classic chicken rendition. 

Kung pao tofu

If you have an air-fryer, tinker with making a batch of Air-Fried Salt and Pepper Tofu. It’s leaner than the original deep-fried version but it’s less caloric. 

lemongrass tofu banh mi

Don’t forget banh mi! Here’s a Lemongrass Tofu Banh Mi recipe to keep you going. And if you’re wanting to cook with 3 ingredients, make Rice Coated Crispy Tofu; toast regular rice for the coating, since you likely did not stock up on sticky rice. 

Tofu Snacks

Or, maybe you just want to go all out and fry up a fun nosh. If you do, make Indonesian Tofu and Egg Pancakes and serve them with a peanut sauce or just dip in soy sauce and chiles. They are delicately crisp. 

Korean cooks have a great knack for combining tofu with a little meat. Meat and tofu make great friends in Korean Tofu and Beef Patties, a recipe from Maanchi’s cookbook. You can also use tofu in dumpling fillings, like this one for Korean Shrimp and Tofu Dumplings

shrimp and tofu dumplings

If a copy of Asian Dumplings is nearby, there are vegetarian tofu-ish dumpling fillings in there for pot stickers, spring rolls, steamed and baked bao. Asian Tofu has lots of soy centric ideas too. 

And if you just want a super simple and delicious tofu starter, make Japanese Seasoned Soy Concentrate (Banno Joyu), keep it for up to 6 months(!) in the fridge to drizzle onto cubed chilled tofu; add thinly sliced green onion. Done.

Tofu Sweets

Save room for dessert featuring tofu. Bake up Gluten-Free Miso Tofu Brownies or a Honey Lime Tofu Cheesecake

tofu cheesecake

Since ginger is good for your immune system, make ginger syrup and serve it over scoops of silken tofu. Add some canned mandarin oranges as the VFAD recipe on page 212 suggests, or use fresh tangerine segments since the fruit is in season. 

tofu and tangerines with ginger syrup

So there — fourteen recipes on this site to stoke your tofu exploration, plus lots more in my books. Keep tofu around to satisfy your hunger in many ways.

Stay healthy and safe, friends.

The post Did You Stock Up On Tofu? Here Are 14 Tofu Recipes Plus Extra Ideas to Use It Well appeared first on Viet World Kitchen.


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