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Cooking with tofu can be a daunting and tricky task. The ancient Chinese “bean curd” is often used as a substitute for meat and fish and Westerners have adopted it, especially with the rise of vegan and vegetarian diets.

So how can we incorporate tofu into our diet? First, you need to understand exactly what it is.

There are four basic types of tofu:

  • Silken
  • Soft or regular
  • Firm
  • Extra firm

The difference between these four types is its texture (the water content of the tofu) and this determines its best uses. For example, soft or regular tofu is good for soaking up flavours in sauces, while firm tofu is good for stir-frying.

Many people struggle to incorporate tofu into their meals. Finding the texture and blandness of the food difficult to transform. However, these characteristics make tofu an extremely versatile ingredient which can be easily prepared in many ways.

Chef Sang Kim recently dropped by The Social to share some of his recipes!

TOFU-AVOCADO GRATIN</h3.
Makes 2 Servings

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 567-g package silken tofu, drained
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) sesame paste
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) koji or aka miso
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) mushroom soup stock granules (sometimes labelled mushroom seasoning or granulated mushroom bouillon)
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) soy sauce
  • Fine seasalt + ground white pepper
  • 1 firm-ripe avocado cut in 16 pieces

For the Garnish

  • Asian hot chili sesame oil
  • Fried onion
  • Finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Set aside 1/4 tofu block to drain. Wrap in paper towels and place in sealed container. To get firmer texture, refrigerate at least 2 hours to overnight. Drain; cut into 6 pieces.
  2. In medium bowl using immersion or hand blender, combine remaining tofu, sesame paste, miso, mushroom seasoning and soy sauce. Blend until smooth. Taste; season with salt, if desired, and pepper.
  3. Place 6 tofu pieces and avocado in shallow, ovenproof dish. Cover with tofu purée. Stir gently.
  4. Bake uncovered in preheated 350F (180C) oven for 25 minutes or until lightly browned on top and warm throughout.
  5. Serve drizzled with chili oil, sprinkled with onion, and parsley or cilantro.

MONGOLIAN TOFU

Makes 2 serving

WHAT YOU NEED:

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp corn starch, divided in two parts
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic chili paste
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 453-g package extra firm tofu, drained, towel dried
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Cut the tofu into cubes
  2. Mix together the first eight ingredients in a bowl to make the sauce, using only half of the corn starch
  3. Toss the remaining corn starch in with the tofu cubes in a separate bowl
  4. Add vegetable oil to a skillet.
  5. On medium-high heat, add tofu and sauté until the tofu is crisp on all sides, about 4-5 minutes
  6. Add the sauce with scallions and carrots and sauté all of it for another 3-4 minutes until sauce thickens and the scallions are tender, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve over steamed rice or on a share platter.