I love the versatility of tofu, which can be made or cooked to take on so many textures, from firm and crisp to crumbly and bouncy to silky and smooth as custard. That it absorbs a wide range of flavors is a boon, too, since it means the same blank slate can turn into something spicy, like mapo tofu, or tangy like this crisp tofu doused in hoisin, slightly sweet like Maangchi’s fried version or deep and rich like bowls of orange-caramel tofu.
Recently, sales of tofu have more than doubled, as Kristen Hartke reported this week, and tofu producers are working overtime to meet the new demand. Here are a few of our favorite ways to turn a block of silken or firm tofu into dinner. Find more ideas in our Recipe Finder.
Vegetarian Mapo Tofu. Silken tofu is transformed into a pungent, thrilling stew in this classic Sichuan dish. Don’t skimp on the chile bean paste, and grind whole Sichuan peppercorns into a fresh powder, if you can, to maximize its signature tongue-numbing tingle.
Sweet, Spicy and Crunchy Korean Tofu. Lightly coated in potato starch and then fried twice, this Maangchi hit is the crispiest, crunchiest tofu recipe we’ve come across.
Tofu Steak Veracruzana. Simply seared, slices of tofu take on the flavors of the onion-tomato-pepper-caper sauce they’re dressed with, a signature of the Mexican coastal state and city from which this dish takes its name.
Baked Tofu With Peanut Sauce and Bok Choy. Here, tofu gets the sheet pan dinner treatment. Roasted alongside crunchy bok choy, it caramelizes slightly. Dress it with a quick peanut sauce, brightened with lime and jazzed up with ginger.
Fried Hoisin Tofu With Peanut Noodles. If you’ve never made tofu before, consider this recipe, which shows how to prepare it for pan-frying: Pressing out excess moisture helps the tofu absorb a flavorful marinade, and ensures it crisps up in the pan. Udon and greens round out the simple but satisfying meal.
Green Curry-Coconut Quinoa With Tofu and Chile-Garlic Sauce. Quickly seared rectangles of tofu add texture and bulk to a creamy coconut quinoa that’s punched up with Thai green curry paste.
Roasted Orange Salty Caramel Tofu. Fresh orange juice, sesame oil, ginger, lemongrass and fish sauce form a sweet and pungent glaze for roasted tofu.
Okonomiyaki With Smoked Tofu. A package of smoked tofu pairs nicely with this almost-anything-goes cabbage pancake. A drizzle of A.1. and a sprinkle of crushed nori add even more umami.
Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Soft Tofu Stew). This classic dish comes together in under 30 minutes, thanks to quickly sauteed vegetables that melt into a base that steals flavor from kimchi and gochujang.
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