Tasty Tofu in a flash - Sandwich press hack #2

Updated: Oct 14


Hot marinated tofu is truly a revelation. To all the people out there that complain that tofu is bland, I'm afraid they've just never had it cooked properly! Heres my quick hack for getting delicious hot delicious tofu is 5 minutes or less - in fact we do this so regularly that our family now calls the sandwich press the tofu cooker.


As always lets get stuck in and save the spiel for later:


Ingredients:

  • 1 block Firm tofu - most brands are good except the coles brand which has a horrible texture. My absolute favourite is from the ernest bean co in collingwood but it can be a little difficult to find. We usually go for the macro brand from Woollies.

My favourite quick and easy marinade:

  • 1 tbs tamari/Soy sauce/Braggs/coconut aminos etc

  • 1/2 tbs sesame oil

  • optional - 1 tsp sriracha or other hot sauce

See below the recipe for more flavour options.


Method:

  1. Open tofu over the sink, tip out any extra moisture from the packaging and rinse the block of tofu.

  2. Slice the block into even 1cm thick slices - even slices will deliver even cooking, but it'll still work if they come out wonky.

  3. Place all the pieces on the sandwich press, turn on and press - remember never pre-heat. You may need to cook in 2 batches if they won't all fit.

  4. While the tofu is cooking, whisk together the marinade ingredients in a flat, heat proof glass or ceramic container.

  5. Check on the tofu and remove the pieces that have started to brown (should be about 2.5 to 3 minutes). Leave the uneven pieces to cook a little longer. Put each hot piece of tofu directly into the marinade container, turning to coat both sides in sauce. The hot tofu will soak up the marinade like a sponge!

  6. Optional extra step if you want it to be crispy - put the pieces back in the sandwich press, turn on the power and cook for another few minutes until crispy.

  7. Eat straight away as a tasty snack or add to a wrap, eat in a burger, top off a buddha bowl, as a side dish with rice and veg, add to a bowl of steaming noodles, or slice up and use in nori rolls.

HOT TIP: For best results make sure to eat it while it's piping hot - cook it last if adding to other dishes. As tofu cools it starts to dry out and can develop a rubbery texture.


Other Marinade options:


Orange Ginger

  • 1 tbs Tamari/Soy sauce/Braggs/Coconut aminos etc

  • 1 tbs orange juice

  • 2 tsp ginger grated


Chinese Five spice

  • 1 tbs Tamari/Soy sauce/Braggs/Coconut aminos etc

  • 1/2 tbs rice vinegar

  • 1 tsp maple/rice syrup

  • splash sesame oil

  • 1/2 tsp chinese five spice

  • 1tsp fresh grated ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger

  • optional 1 garlic cloves finely minced or 1/4 tsp garlic powder


Japanese - great for nori rolls

  • 1 tbs Tamari/Soy sauce/Braggs/Coconut aminos etc

  • 2 tsp rice vinegar

  • 3 tsp rice syrup

*If you're not into soy sauce style flavours you could also use vegetable stock, and experiment with other spices. Ive been meaning to try out a greek style garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano combo. Let your taste buds guide you! Speaking of which, my family likes to add tomato sauce, peanut butter and garlic to the original marinade. Im not a huge fan but they like how it caramelises in the second pressing.

Like so many things, China was the birthplace of Tofu around 2000 years ago. It migrated to Japan around the 8th century where it became a popular meat substitute among Buddhist monks. It spread throughout Southeastern Asia and then more recently (the last 50 years) to the west with the growing popularity of vegetarian, macrobiotic and vegan diets.


Tofu is made from soybean curds: Soy milk is curdled by adding mineral salts (usually magnesium chloride or calcium chloride - food grade gypsum) from evaporated sea salt and pressed into tofu blocks. There is also a traditional method of coagulation using microbes and fermentation, although that form of tofu is not readily available in the West.


Nutritionally speaking, tofu is a complete protein - containing all 9 essential amino acids and is highly mineral rich; particularly iron, calcium & magnesium (amounts will vary depending on the coagulant used) but also manganese & selenium . Soybeans (like all beans) contain phytates - so-called antinutrients that can inhibit the absorption of minerals, however these are largely deactivated during the soaking and cooking of the soybeans, leaving tofu a mineral and protein rich powerhouse 💪.


Tofu is a certainly a wonderful staple for vegans and vegetarians, but it also has many health benefits for omnivores too. Regular consumption of Soy has been shown to helps to reduce harmful LDL cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity and obesity and consequently reduce the major risk factors for heart disease.


Phytoestrogens (plant derived oestrogen) found in soy also mimics the activity of oestrogen produced by the body, making soy foods a useful dietary addiction to help reduce the symptoms of menopause. These phytoestrogens also have the ability to bind to oestrogen receptors in the body and the breasts which can potentially reduce the risk of breast cancer. Now there has been controversy about the effect of soy foods in women that have already had oestrogen dependent cancers but more and more evidence is showing that whole bean soy foods as opposed to highly processed soy isolates are more likely to improve outcomes.


Soybeans are one of the biggest genetically modified crops in the world, with much of that product used as feed for mass farmed animals or isolated compounds added to highly processed meats and "foodstuffs". To get the most benefit from your food and reduce the harm on the planet from agrobusiness please always choose organic non-gmo (genetically modified) soy products made from whole soy beans 🌿.

Most recipes you see will insist on taking the time to press the tofu and marinate it before cooking. Doing it that way does help the flavour to soak into the tofu better, but it also requires a bit of forethought and about an extra hour (or overnight) and when you suddenly you realise you're starving, who has time for that 🤪! This method however, uses heat to help absorb the flavour into the surface quickly!


If you'd like to give the long marination method a try, simply wrap your block of tofu in a clean tea towel, put a chopping board on top and something heavy (mortar, several tin cans, a brick etc) on top of that and leave for 20 minutes. Note: put it somewhere out of the way so the weights don't tumble and land on your foot 😫! After the moisture has been pressed out, slice and dip both sides in the marinade. Leave to soak in the marinade for 30 mins or overnight in the fridge and then cook in sandwich press, oven or frypan with a little oil.


Wanna see how the quick method is done?


Step by step instructions with photos:

Open tofu over the sink, tip out any extra moisture from the packaging and rinse the block of tofu.

Slice the block into even 1cm thick slices. Even slices will deliver even cooking, but mine never are so Ive got a work around if they come out wonky.

Place all the pieces on the sandwich press, turn on and press - remember never pre-heat. You may need to cook in 2 batches if they won't all fit.

While the tofu is cooking, whisk together the marinade ingredients in a flat, heat proof glass or ceramic container.


Check on the tofu and remove the pieces that have started to brown (should be about 2.5 to 3 minutes). Leave the uneven pieces to cook a little longer.

Put each hot piece of tofu directly into the marinade container, turning to coat both sides in sauce. The hot tofu will soak up the marinade like a sponge!

Optional extra step if you want it to be crispy - put the pieces back in the sandwich press, turn on the power and cook for another few minutes until crispy.


The pieces on the left below have been cooked once and the pieces on the right have been cooked twice.

Eat straight away as a tasty snack or add to a wrap, eat in a burger, top off a buddha bowl, as a side dish with rice and veg, add to a bowl of steaming noodles, or slice up and use in nori rolls.


This is such a winner - I just made up a batch to take photos for this post and everyone suddenly appeared from the 4 corners of the house as they smelt it cooking 😋.


Enjoy!

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