Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Asian Cooking 101: Tofu and Rice

Tofu and I have had a love/hate relationship my whole life.  I've always hated it until about two years ago when I started to eat less meat, and tofu became one of my main sources of protein.  The more I ate tofu the more I liked it!

My son, Kevin, lives in Seattle, and when I go up to visit we always grab lunch in the International District.  A couple weeks ago I had a delicious green papaya salad with seared tofu.  The tofu was so fresh and delicious with a wonderfully plump texture.  I assumed their tofu was made at the restaurant, and wondered if I would have to learn how to make my own tofu!  Then I found this little gem at H Mart!

Oh, my goodness!  I was so excited when I found this package of fresh tofu I could hardly wait to get home and try it.

I know you're supposed to weigh down your tofu slices to remove excess moisture but I do not.  I just cut my tofu into the desired shapes, and then set the pieces between two double layers of paper towels pressing down lightly to adhere the top paper towels to the tofu.  After a few minutes I change out the paper towels, and let the tofu sit for about ten minutes (which is about how long it takes for me to chop my veggies).  Since this tofu was not packed in liquid I just blotted the slices with a paper towel.  

Also, I don't marinade my tofu.  Seems counterproductive to spend all that time trying to remove excess liquid just to put the tofu into another liquid.  To incorporate some flavor to my tofu I'll add a sauce over the top of the cooked tofu before serving, or set out containers of sauce for dipping.  My favorite dipping sauce is 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce, 1 Tbsp Agave, 1 tsp Sriracha, and a splash of sesame oil.  

My George Foreman electric barbecue did a great job on the tofu.  I preheated it on the number four setting, and then left the tofu on the grill for about three minutes, and then turned it 90 degrees and let sit for another three minutes.  Then just flip over and repeat!

Okay, now for the rice.  Rice is so simple to make.  I like my rice a little sticky so I use a three parts rice to four parts water ratio.  Today I used 3/4 cup rice to 1 cup water which in our household  makes enough for two hungry people.

Add the rice to a pan, and swirl under running water. 

Carefully drain the water, and then rinse/drain again until the water is less cloudy (about two more times).

Cover the pot and bring to boil over medium heat.  When water is boiling quickly stir rice, replace cover and reduce heat to low.  Then just set the timer for 20 minutes and let the rice cook.  Do not lift the cover!

And there you have it!  Perfectly cooked rice!


  1. I never thought of using a George Foreman grill! What is the difference between "fresh" tofu and normal tofu?

    1. For me the difference between fresh and normal (tofu packaged in water) is the texture Fresh tofu has a denser, meatier texture -- it doesn't feel as smooth and processed as normal tofu. Also, I think fresh tofu has a slightly "beanier" flavor which I enjoy.

  2. ok, I buy one brand that is sealed without water (Wildwood) and like it a lot but didn't realize it was considered fresh.

    1. I'm not familiar with that brand, but the fresh tofu I'm talking about is not stored in liquid, or vacuumed packed, and will be marked as fresh tofu.