What are the different tofu marinades?

A plate of tofu.

Tofu marinades transform the flavor of tofu, offering a variety of different flavors, textures and cooking styles. Asian-inspired marinades, curry marinades, and smoke-flavored marinades for tofu are just a few of the types of sauces that can enhance the entire soy curd experience. Whether vegetarian, vegan or meat eater, the right mix of marinated tofu opens the taste buds to refreshing new worlds of flavors.

Thai basil is often used in tofu marinades.

Before marinating tofu, many cooks first freeze and thaw the bean curd. This practice helps the tofu release much of its water content, allowing tofu marinades to be better absorbed into the curd. It also provides a meatier texture and greatly reduces the amount of time the tofu has to soak in the marinade to achieve maximum flavor. When tofu prepared in this way is fried, it is called dry-fried tofu.

Fenugreek is a spice used in cooking and in dietary supplements.

Asian-inspired tofu marinades like Szechuan and Thai sauces can add an exotic flavor to regular bean curds. Because tofu absorbs the flavor of the spices and foods in which it is marinated and cooked, an Asian fusion works well to really bring out the flavors of the Orient. Typical Sichuan marinades are made with soy sauce or tamari, ginger, garlic, and a spice with a little heat, such as cayenne pepper. Thai marinades are also extremely popular. These recipes blend the flavors of soy sauce, lemon juice, basil and red pepper flakes to capture the unique flavor of Thai cuisine; Peanut sauce is another staple of Thai cuisine and makes an ideal marinade.

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Many marinade recipes call for red wine vinegar.

Other Asian-origin tofu marinades are influenced by flavors from India. Curry is a common way to prepare tofu, and traditional techniques employ the unique flavors of curry powder, cumin, garlic, fenugreek, ginger and garlic. Curried tofu is especially tasty when prepared with a variety of fresh vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, peas, and even raisins.

There are also more western-flavored tofu marinades. Barbecue sauce, for example, makes a spicy, smoky marinade for bean curd. Connoisseurs of this smoky flavor can also enjoy a homemade marinade comprised of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos – similar to soy sauce, but with a slightly smokier flavor – garlic and onion.

When it comes to the marinating process and actual cooking of tofu, there are several effective preparation methods. Before placing the curd in the marinade, it can be cut into plates, triangles or cubes of tofu. Roasted tofu, grilled tofu and fried tofu are among the most popular ways to prepare this unique meat alternative.

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