Tofu and Tempeh
Tofu & Tempeh
Tofu is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. Tofu is either soft, firm, or extra firm. It has a low calorie count, but is high in protein and iron, and also contains calcium, the amount depending on the coagulant used to make it.
Tempeh is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is also a great source of protein and iron, and even has calcium. It contains more fibre than tofu as the whole soy bean is used.
Tofu & How To Cook It
Tofu is an excellent source of protein, but doesn’t have a strong flavour unless you marinade it or cook it in a sauce or curry. Here are some tips and links to get started.
In order for tofu to absorb the flavours its cooked in, you need to drain and press out some of the water in the tofu. Use a clean tea towel or kitchen towel to wrap the tofu and press the water out by hand, or leave something heavy on top for a while.
Use medium to firm/extra firm tofu for the best texture. Press out the water, chop into chunks and marinade or coat in corn flour and fry. For a smoky marinade try soy sauce and a drop of liquid smoke (about 1/4 tsp), add finely chopped garlic and ginger if you like. Leave to marinade for about an hour or more. You could also try frying in oil and sprinkling spices such as cajun powder or even vegetable stock powder.
Use soft to medium tofu (or you can use silken tofu as well). Great for brunch. No need to press the water out for this recipe, just scrunch it up using your hands (or chop into small squares if using silken tofu) and add to the pan. If you are replicating egg, add a touch of turmeric, pepper, black salt and splash of plant milk. See our breakfast and brunch recipes section.
In a curry
Tofu is great added into any curry. Press out the water, slice in either square chunks or thinner slices and fry first if you want it to be a bit crispy then add and cook in the curry so the flavours are absorbed.
Used in desserts
Silken tofu is fantastic for desserts such as vegan cheese cakes or chocolate mousse. Find it on the normal shelves, perhaps Asian section, of your supermarket – rather than in the chilled area where the other tofu varieties live.
Tempeh & How To Cook It
Tempeh has a more nutty flavour, and firm texture, and can be enjoyed just sliced and fried then added to stir fry veggies and rice, or you can also marinade it like you would a firm tofu. In fact sliced tempeh, marinated and then baked makes a great smoky bacon substitute (try liquid smoke as a great addition to your tofu or tempeh marinades).
You can slice into larger burger shapes too and enjoy in a burger bun with salad and vegan cheese! It can also be grated and used like a mince.