November 23, 2011

What Can I Do With Soft Tofu?

Enchiladas can be filled with a shredded tofu mixture,
and served with Spanish rice and re-fried beans
When I began to cut meat out of my diet, tofu was one protein source that helped take its place. At first I only used firm or extra firm tofu - many recipes call for these, and they are more... meat-like. You can crumble, cube, and slice it. It can be boiled and fried. But what about soft tofu? What, I wondered, can I do with soft tofu?

Traditional tofu (non-GM) is soft, and for a while I was not sure exactly what to do with it. In recipes such as chili, or Dal, soft tofu breaks up into little micro-pieces, and has a mushy to non-existent mouth feel. But it was inexpensive and nutritious, so I kept on trying.

I tried putting soft tofu in smoothies, but that didn't really appeal to me. Then I stumbled across a method for transforming soft tofu into something completely different, when I froze a chunk (without water).

I didn't recognize it when I took it out and thawed it. The tofu was no longer a soft, smooth consistency. It was like a sponge with a more fibrous structure. I squeezed all the water out of the block of spongy tofu, then using my kitchen scissors, shredded it into a frying pan of hot oil.

With the addition of a few spices I had essentially made 'veggie ground round', a packaged soy product that simulates Mexican spiced ground beef. I like veggie ground round, but it is too expensive. Making it with soft tofu that has been frozen is much, much cheaper.

Freezing soft tofu transforms the soy into a chewier, more textured finished product. I like the mouth feel that it adds to the dishes it is added to. This form of tofu absorbs seasonings well due to its sponge-like properties.

Mexican Shredded Tofu

350 - 454 grams  - Traditional tofu (soft)
2 tbsp  - oil
1/2 - onion
dash   - Bragg seasoning
1/4 - 1/2 tsp each - cumin, oregano, chili powder
dash - salt, pepper

Thaw a block of tofu that has been frozen. It can go in the microwave to speed the process. When thawed, squeeze the water out, like squeezing a sponge. Heat cast iron fry pan on medium, add oil. Brown diced onion in hot oil.

Add cumin, oregano, and chili powder and stir for a minute or two. Using kitchen scissors, cut the tofu into pan. Add Bragg seasoning, stir, lower heat. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve in burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and salads.

And for dessert, why not make chocolate pudding out of, yes, soft tofu. I usually think of tofu in savory dishes, not sweet ones, but this recipe makes a simple, fast, smooth, and yummy pudding. It is an excellent recipe to make if you have a block of soft tofu and are not sure what to do with it.

Soft Tofu Decadent Chocolate Pudding

Block  - fresh soft tofu
1/4 cup  - cocoa powder
1 tsp  - vanilla
dash  - salt
1/4 cup  -  sugar

Toss everything into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You may have to mix first to break up the tofu, and/or add a bit of milk. When perfectly smooth put in fridge for 30 minutes. Makes about 4 servings.

Traditional (soft) tofu is economical and nutritious. Using it instead of meat has many benefits for the health of the planet, as well as your health.


  1. I fried some with some seasoning. the soft non-gm tofu taste bitter. what's wrong with it?

    1. Tofu should not taste bitter, and actually has a pretty bland flavour. Was it past its best before date?


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