Cholesterol-free, sodium-free and low in saturated fats, tofu is one of the most nutritious ingredients that you can add to your favourite recipes. Whether you prefer your complete protein tofu soft, silken, firm, extra firm, fermented or smoked – in pad Thai tofu style dishes or curried creations – there are many exciting and healthy menu ideas for you to try.
Here are 5 of the best…
1. Pad Thai Tofu
The veggie version of Thailand’s national dish, Pad Thai tofu is also one of the nation’s most popular street food dishes. The rice noodle based taste sensation showcases pan-fried firm tofu, with a vibrant and aromatic mix of spring onions, bamboo shoots and stir-fried eggs tossed in tamarind paste, vegan fish sauce, garlic, red chilli pepper and palm sugar. For added crunch, you can expect the dish to be dressed with a generous sprinkling of peanuts.
If you’re vegan, you can also enjoy tucking into this flavoursome tofu dish, if you leave out the egg. Add some raw banana flowers for extra colour and texture.
2. Vietnamese Fried Tofu With Green Onion Sauce
If you love dishes that are delicious, colourful, and contrasting in texture, this delightful Vietnamese recipe will definitely tickle your taste buds. The soft, pan-fried tofu is golden and crispy, and perfect for dipping into luscious vibrant green spring onion sauce.
To make: deep fry tofu cubes in hot oil until golden all over. Drain and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine sliced spring onions with two tbsp of the hot oil used for frying the tofu, vegan fish sauce, mushroom broth powder, and hot water. While still hot, dip the tofu cubes into the oil mixture for a few seconds, to absorb the sauce flavours. It’s now ready to eat!
3. Thai Tofu Coconut Curry
Unlike the classic dish of pad Thai tofu, that is noodle based, this protein rich main meal option is served with a side of rice, and is inspired by popular takeout curries. Thai coconut curry is healthy, and quick and easy to make from scratch, and will satisfy your Friday night cravings.
Shallots, ginger, honey, soy sauce, garlic chilli sauce and curry paste create a strong foundation of flavour, that’s blended with rich coconut milk in a creamy sauce. Cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and snap peas provide the colourful veggie elements that complement the crispy, sautéed tofu cubes. This versatile recipe also works well with just about anything that you have in the fridge. Serve the curry with white or brown rice, or spice it up with quinoa or cauliflower rice.
4. Mapo Tofu
Originating from China’s Sichuan Province, Mapo tofu is traditionally made with pork mince and tofu. If your tofu lover friends are vegetarian or vegan, omit the pork and add finely diced shiitake mushrooms. Red Sichuan peppercorns give this wonderfully aromatic dish its distinctive taste bud tingling flavour punch.
When shopping for ingredients in your local Asian grocery store, look for silken or soft tofu that can be chopped into 3/4-inch cubes. You’ll also need to buy doubanjiang – a salty Sichuan-style chilli sauce made with fermented broad beans – to give the sauce a real kick.
Heat two tablespoons of oil in a wok, and add garlic and ginger and sauté. Add the doubanjiang and sauté. Add ground Sichuan peppercorn, chilli flakes and sugar and mix well. Add cornstarch to thicken, and simmer the sauce for a few minutes.
Sauté the mushrooms and warm the tofu before transferring to the wok and tossing everything together. Dish up mapo tofu in individual bowls, drizzled with a little sesame oil and garnished with sliced spring onions. Serve with jasmine rice and a green papaya salad.
5. Thai Green Curry Tofu Spring Rolls
If you’re cooking up a banquet for your tofu lover family and friends, Thai green curry tofu spring rolls is the ultimate starter for your menu. The light, fragrant and fresh appetiser is the perfect complement to a flavoursome Pad Thai tofu main course.
To make the spring rolls: press a block of extra firm tofu, to remove excess moisture. Slice the tofu into finger width rectangles, and toss with soy sauce and ginger. Place the tofu pieces on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cook rice vermicelli noodles, rinse in cold water and set aside.
Sauté garlic in hot oil, and add green curry paste, finely sliced red pepper, shredded carrot, fresh Thai basil and fresh cilantro, lime juice, caster sugar and coconut milk. Cover and set aside.
Fill a shallow dish with warm water and place a rice paper wrapper in it. Let it sit until the rice paper is soft and pliable. Gently lift out the paper and transfer to a clean plate. Top with vermicelli noodles, tofu and veggies. Tuck in the sides of the wrapper, and gently roll it up tightly. Place the spring roll seam side down on a serving plate, and cover with a damp cloth until ready to eat. Repeat until you’ve used up all the ingredients.
Serve the spring rolls with your favourite dipping sauce.