Because tofu has a mild flavor and a porous texture, it readily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients. This makes tofu a perfect addition to a wide variety of both savory and sweet dishes.
It is important to choose the right tofu for a dish. Use firm tofu in dishes like stir fries, where you want chunks of tofu to stay intact. Use softer versions or silken tofu when you are puréeing or mashing the tofu. Firm tofu can also be frozen. Place the whole package—water and all if it is water-packed—into the freezer until it is frozen solid. Frozen tofu will keep for 3 months. When defrosted, and the water is squeezed out, the tofu takes on a pleasant caramel color and a pleasing chewy texture that makes it an especially good meat substitute.
Since tofu has been used for centuries in Asian countries, it is a common ingredient in a variety of Asian dishes. But its increasing popularity in western countries has given rise to many new uses for this versatile food. There are many delicious ways to prepare tofu:
Add chunks of soft tofu to miso soup for a traditional Japanese delicacy.
Stir-fry chunks of firm tofu with vegetables, soy sauce, and garlic for a Chinese cuisine.
Add chunks of firm tofu to a curry sauce for the flavor of Thailand.
For a Korean-flavored meal, marinate tofu in soy sauce and fresh ginger, and then stir fry with garlic, onions, and hot peppers.
Add chunks of firm tofu to vegetable soups or stews. Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes so that the tofu absorbs the other flavors in the dish.
Blend soft or silken tofu with low-fat sour cream and chopped chives and use to top a baked potato.
Purée tofu with peanut butter or almond butter to make a fluffy sandwich spread.
Blend regular tofu with cooked spinach and Parmesan cheese and use to stuff lasagna layers or pasta shells.
Mash regular tofu with mayonnaise and chopped celery for a cholesterol-free egg salad-like sandwich spread.
Scramble coarsely mashed tofu with onions, mushrooms, herbs, and a dash of nutritional yeast for a delicious breakfast scramble.
Purée soft tofu with herbs and cooked carrots or spinach; then thin with milk or broth to make a creamy soup.
Blend soft tofu with apple juice and bananas to make a breakfast smoothie.
Purée soft tofu with melted chocolate chips for a creamy pie filling.