Saturday, September 13, 2008

tofu...can you believe it? ~

I can remember my mom cooking tofu once, when I was a teen - I thought it was absolutely the most "nothing" thing I've ever eaten, LOL - I have no idea how she cooked it, but I've had no desire to try it again...until I started trying Vietnamese cooking.

My good friend Tom sent me some simple instructions to 'break me in' for my first tofu experiment. I didn't have the fresh tomatoes he recommended, but I did have a nice 14 oz can of diced tomatoes and that worked just fine.

Tofu is kind of fun. It's springy and a little spongy and looks a little like cheese, to me. I rinsed and drained it well on paper towels, and then I sliced it into blocks. First lesson learned (later, when I ate it) - make smaller thinner blocks. The sauce soaked into the tofu but they were so thick, it didn't go all the way.

Next, in a cast iron skillet sprayed liberally with Pam, I slowly fried the tofu blocks. There was a little sticking, but I don't have a large non-stick pan and so I was stuck with this (haha, get it?). However, there was so little liquid produced, I bet I could have gotten away with cooking these on my non-stick electric griddle.
Just a note here - during the tofu cooking, I had water boiling for noodles, and cooked them at the same time as the sauce.
OK - here are the browned tofu cubes. I thought they were kind of pretty.
The next step was to stir fry a little minced garlic for 15 seconds or so, and then add the can of tomatoes. I let it simmer to reduce some of the liquid, then I added the tofu cubes and simmered some more, stirring frequently to cover the cubes well.
Before turning off the heat, I sprinkled a tablespoon or so of soy sauce over it all and mixed it in. This is the sauce I used, it's what I have on hand right now. I liked the previous one better, I think it might have had a swan on it...I'll have to find out what kind it was. This sauce is a bit strong and black.
Finally, I topped the drained hot noodles with the tofu sauce. And, I may get whipped with a wet noodle, haha, but I sprinkled some feta cheese on it as a final touch. Nothing like mixing ethnic cooking to taste, is there, LOL.
Here's my final impression - I liked it, and think the health benefits of tofu are worth buying it again. It was different, and I can't say it will ever be an absolute favorite, but I think next time, the thinner blocks will be better. Also, in "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" by Andrea Nguyen, there is a pork stuffed tofu that looks absolutely divine. I've just gotta try that.

1 comment:

  1. Sis, try the tofu and tomato but with onion and fish sauce. Actually, start with ground pork/beef/or turkey seasoned with fish sauce, pepper and garlic. Let marinate about 15 minutes, then cook in a medium sauce pan. Add the tofu and tomatoes and onions. Put on the lid and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes, stirring just once or so. Serve over hot steamed rice.