We love tofu so much — you should too

May 4, 2024 — by Divya Vadlakonda and Isabelle Wang
Graphic by Isabelle Wang
Tofu is soy delicious.
It is time to dispel the harmful myth that tofu is merely a meat substitute.

Imagine this: You are a very hungry caterpillar who cannot decide whether to eat something cold or warm, sweet or salty, a snack or a meal. However, if you choose to be certified Grade A fatty, you need to dive into the marvelous succulent world of tofu dishes. 

Honestly, tofu gets way too much hate. While it looks simple, it is so versatile that it can easily be braised, steamed and fried; dressed up by delicious flavors and sauces; cut up into large pieces or scrambled to make for a filling meal. Tofu is more than a meat substitute, and today, we will dispel the hateful reputation of this glorious protein source. 

This underrated protein-packed block has unlimited potential to bring your food fantasies to reality. Like a blank piece of paper (but yummier), you can use your imagination to produce endless possibilities on a blank block of tofu. To start, choose your firmness of tofu: silken, regular, firm, extra-firm or super-firm. 

The type of tofu you choose varies depending on what sauces you add to your pillowy rectangle. In general, all tofu has a delicate, soft, jiggly texture that you can swallow easily bite after bite. Our top choices are silken and regular tofu, as the light bounciness of the tofu makes it super addicting.

On top of that, all tofu comes with a hint of an umami taste. With deep undertones of rich seafood combined with a meaty and earthy flavor, tofu has an unmatched taste sensation that melds together sweet and salty. 

Divya’s favorite tofu dish

A perfect example of the fireworks tofu can create if correctly dressed up is eggplant tofu, my favorite dish to order at any Thai restaurant. It is a perfect marriage of textures and flavors, protein and vegetables, that never fails to titillate her taste buds. You would think that this dish would get tiring to eat after a while, but somehow I just can’t get enough of it. 

Both the crispy tofu and soft eggplant are coated with a syrupy, sweet, salty sauce, creating a mingle of flavors on the tongue which is only enhanced when paired with a bowl of hot, steaming white rice. As with any tofu dish, rice, eggplant and tofu are a trifecta made in heaven. The rice is like a blank slate that the tofu dish can dress up, only enhancing its flavor. 

Isabelle’s favorite tofu dish

My favorite dish is soft egg tofu fried with eggs and soy sauce. The silken tofu comes in cylindrical tubes, which my mom cuts up into discs, dips into scrambled eggs and pan-fries on each side. After each side of the jiggly tofu-coin is beautifully golden and crisp, my mom adds a dash of soy sauce to emphasize the umami, and the dish is complete. Served over a warm bowl of white rice and green onions, the tofu dish is something I can eat for days on end.

Ingredients: 1 tube of egg tofu, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, green scallions and sesame oil.

Instructions: 

  1. Cut up the egg tofu into discs and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  2. Cover the tofu with a thin layer of cornstarch on both sides and then dip the tofu into the beaten egg mixture.
  3. Add cooking oil to the pan and turn it on to medium heat. Next, pan fry the tofu on both sides until golden brown.
  4. Mix together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch and some water and add it to the tofu, turning the heat down to low.
  5. Continue cooking for five minutes until the sauce is thickened. Drizzle sesame oil and green onions and enjoy with a warm bowl of white rice.

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We hope that these deliciously descriptive adjectives shifted some opinions in favor of tofu. Nothing can ever match up to tofu’s versatility, and to deny it is simply treasonous. It is 2024— and time to stop yucking this yum!

Tags: food, tofu
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