I can’t believe I’m even writing this post, because I used to HATE tofu. I hated the texture, the taste, the look of the stuff – I hated everything about it. Basically, immediately after tofu and I made acquaintances years ago, I made up my mind that we’d never get along.
Then one day, I decided to make Eggplant Potato Moussaka with Pine Nut Cream and much to my dismay, the recipe calls for tofu. It looked and sounded so delicious, I decided I’d be cheating myself out of an epic meal if I passed it up, so I went for it. And I was right, it’s one hell of a dish — tofu and all.
From time to time I’d make the moussaka recipe, but played it safe and didn’t get too involved with my tofu affair — until Ben (my husband) came along. Before I explain why, we have to talk about lasagna.
One night about five years ago, the wind was howling outside and we were cozied up in Ben’s bedroom of his rental house. It was wintertime and the insulation in that place was terrible, so we were on his bed, beneath a stacked layer of blankets, cuddling to keep warm while watching Planet Earth. He went downstairs to get a snack and brought up two pieces of lasagna. This will sound completely crazy, but up until this point I had never tried lasagna. My mum always made hers with meat sauce and since I took to the veggies as a wee one, I hadn’t tried hers. He offered me a bite and I still remember how delicious it was. Such a simple, satisfying discovery I had gone without for so many years!
Ben made up for my lack of lasagna days and served it for every special occasion we celebrated together. You see, back then he was the cook and took pride in woo’ing me through the dishes he made. He would decorate our table with a bottle of wine and flowers and prepare his special lasagna recipe just for me. I felt so damn loved and he knew it. It didn’t take me long to try my hand at making his lasagna recipe and before long, I had added a little of this, a little of that, re-written the recipe and just like that, I stole Ben’s lasagna game. I’m the lasagna chef in our house now, and even though Ben loved making it for me, he also enjoys being cooked for.
Ben had another culinary trick up his sleeve when we met and was determined to teach me to appreciate it. Because not only did he make a good lasagna but he also made seriously delicious tofu. I didn’t jump right into tofu like I did the lasagna, but after a while, I was eating it whenever he made it. And then slowly over time, as any food blogger would, I offered to cook for him. I appreciate a challenge in the kitchen and for me; tofu was as big of a challenge to make as it was to eat. I’m not delicate or gentle and have always been quite clumsy so time and time again, I would attempt to prepare tofu and before I had a chance to marinade it, I would break it apart while pressing it. As clumsy as I am stubborn, I pursued this mission and last week, I nailed it with this recipe. It’s so easy, so tasty and just like that; I stole Ben’s game. Again.
So that’s why I feel like a bit of a jerk – I keep stealing his game. To his credit though, he’s introduced me to new tastes, flavours and food combinations that have influenced my journey as a recipe developer. He’s also warned me that this is his territory — one I’m to never intrude on.
HOW TO MARINATE TOFU LIKE A BOSS
1 block of extra firm organic tofu 1/2 cup tamari sauce
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp crushed coriander seed 1/2 cup water
1 // Carefully remove tofu from the package and place it on a towel. Wrap the towel around the tofu and evenly (and gently) press down onto it to remove any excess liquid. Be very careful while doing this because you don’t want the tofu to break apart.
3 // Place tofu on a cutting board and cut it into strips.
4 // Cut these strips into cubes and transfer them to the bowl. Each cube should be submerged in the marinate, so you may need to divide the cubes and marinate up between a few bowls.
5 // Cover and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least six hours. I marinate my tofu for a full twenty-four hours before cooking it. The longer the tofu’s sitting in the marinate, the more the flavours absorb into it.
6 // Remove the tofu from the marinate and transfer on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
7 // Bake at 350 degrees F for twenty minutes, rotating the cubes once they become crispy.
Enjoy over salads, in stir-frys or in curries.
What’s your favorite way of cooking or eating tofu?
ASHLEY WOOD is a recipe developer and writer from Winnipeg, Canada. With a passion for health, wellness and vegetables, Ashley creates simple and inexpensive vegan recipes made from whole ingredients that are often seasonal, sometimes gluten-free and occasionally raw. Ashley believe in celebrating the benefits of living a vegan lifestyle and at the very least, hopes to inspire others to eat more plants, smile and live with some Sunshine.