Tofu Tips {Vegan MoFo #13}

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by JL Fields on October 18, 2012

My Vegan MoFo theme this year is “Go Vegan with JL…In the kitchen!” in which I reply to your questions about cooking in your vegan kitchen.  (I explain a bit more about my theme and plan for my October posts here.)


Today’s issue:

“I don’t know how to make tofu!” 

I was pretty intimated by tofu when I first went vegetarian, about ten years ago. In fact, I went vegetarian while in Kenya and called my husband, who did most of the cooking in our home at the time, to tell him about this big dietary change and that I needed him to figure out tofu.

Once I went vegan, and dedicated myself to becoming a solid, vegan home cook, I learned to love cooking with the flexible, chameleon-like bean curd filled with protein, calcium and iron.  Here’s my laywoman’s take on preparing tofu.

Firm Tofu 
First, you want to press the water out of the tofu. Most people wrap the tofu in towels, set it on a plate or cutting board, and place a heavy object on it, such as books or a heavy pan.  I use a  TofuXpress.  Either way works, just press that water out of the tofu before using.

The tofu is pressed. Now what? Make a marinade! You can scour vegan cookbooks and websites/blogs for great marinade recipes but why not make something that tastes good to YOU? All you need to start is

  • a fat (olive or sesame oils)
  • an acid (vinegar or citrus juice)
  • spices
  • salt (I prefer Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, but sea salt, soy and tamari sauces are good, too)
  • garlic (not a must but I almost always use it)

Then you take it from there. I have tried things like miso with date syrup and pumpkin. Tuesday I made this:

Turmeric, Cumin & Ginger Tofu

by JL Fields @ JL goes Vegan


  • 1 block (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu, pressed, drained and diced into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground, dry ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup


  1. Place the cubed tofu in a shallow baking pan suitable for marinating.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and soy sauce.
  3. Add ginger, turmeric and cumin and whisk again.
  4. Stir in the minced garlic and then pour over the diced tofu.
  5. Toss the tofu in the marinade, coating each piece well.
  6. Drizzle maple syrup over the tofu, cover, and refrigerate for several hours (or overnight).
  7. To cook, simply heat a non-stick pan (sprayed lightly with oil) on medium-high. Add the tofu and fry for 5 minutes. Turn tofu pieces and cook for another 3 – 5 minutes.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

You can marinade tofu 20 minutes to 24 hours though I tend to marinate it for 2 – 8 hours. How do you want it? Fried? Baked? Grilled? Yes, all three are perfect!

  • Bake on 350 for 20 minutes turning at 10 minutes.
  • Pan fry in olive or sesame oil for 8 – 10 minutes turning at mid-point.
  • Grill for 10 – 12 minutes, turning at mid-point on a gas or electric grill.

You can enjoy “scrambled tofu” for breakfast. For lunch, crumble tofu for an “eggless” salad or dice it in a soup.

Soft and Silken Tofu
Soft tofu is great to make sour cream, cream cheese, salad dressings and desserts. I use soft tofu in my Creamy Kale Miso Soup

and silken tofu in my smoothies.

Check out my tofu recipes:

How do you like to make tofu?

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