When I first transitioned to eating plant-based, I hated tofu! In fact, I tried different types of tofu, and I still, didn’t like it at all. Then, I realized the reason I didn’t like tofu, was because I was making it wrong. Lemongrass tofu, for instance, is so tasty I can’t imagine my life without it. So, tofu hater turned tofu lover overnight!
The secret to great tofu is a simple process, which when done correctly, creates an incredible protein source that can literally be cooked in several ways and absorb any flavors.
HOW TO CORRECTLY PREPARE TOFU
First, I recommend using extra-firm tofu when using it as a topping for salads, stirfries, or an entree. conversely, soft tofu is used for baking, sauces, and dressing. Firm and extra-firm tofu require pressing, however, sprouted tofu does not. Sometimes, though, sprouted tofu is difficult to find, so my go-to tofu is always extra firm tofu.
Although you do not need a tofu press to press tofu, I prefer to use a cheap press I found on Amazon. Despite the many expensive tofu presses available, the cheap one works great, or you can always use a heavy book and paper towels. Either way, the trick is to press slowly and be patient. Pressing tofu too quickly, for instance, makes it crack on the sides, making it difficult to cut and cook.
After slowly pressing the tofu, the goal is to make it as thin as possible without cracking the sides and making it about an inch or an inch and a half thick.
Then, for the lemongrass tofu recipe, I cut the tofu slab into 4 equal slabs, because I plan to grill my tofu.
For specific directions on how to press and different options of cooking tofu, click this link Pressed Tofu for Grilling, Baking, Air-frying or Cooking in a Skillet
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LEMONGRASS TOFU MARINADE…THE SECRET INGREDIENTS
Another important ingredient is the lemongrass. Lemongrass, for instance, has a unique and fresh, mild citrus taste. The first time I had lemongrass was a Vietnamese restaurant we go to often. So, I planted and harvested my own. Luckily, I live in Arizona, which lemongrass loves. In addition, snakes and mice don’t like the wonderful citrus small, so I get a two for the price of one.
Of course, not everyone has a lemongrass plant growing in their yards, so where can you find this special ingredient? Whole Foods carries it, and from time to time, so does Sprouts market.
In order to use the lemongrass in cooking, you first have to chop off the thick ends and peel away the layers, like an onion, until you get a pliable stalk that bends. Then, you simply dice the white pliable center.
Shallots and fresh ginger, are yet two other important ingredients in the marinade.
And the last, but not the least special ingredient is dulse. Since Asian fish sauce is not vegan, dulse is the substitution I use.
WHAT IS DULSE?
Dulse is a variety of seaweed that resembles leafy red lettuce when fresh. Its flavor will definitely remind you of the ocean — its minerality makes it a great stand-in for salt.
The benefits of Dulse include, for example, high levels of protein and fiber. Dulse is a nutrient-rich red algae which has become increasingly popular in health food circles due to its numerous nutrition properties. More and more experts are advising people to implement sea greens into their diets, including dulse.
HERE ARE SOME GREAT WAYS TO INCORPORATE DULSE:
- Mix flaked dulse into homemade salad dressings.
- Use dried flakes on top of popcorn
- Add strips of whole-leaf dulse to your favorite pickled vegetables.
- Sprinkle flakes over your vegan poke bowl
- Steep whole-leaf dulse in water for a restorative and savory “tea.”
- Mix flaked dulse into homemade bread dough.
- Add to a bowl of ramen.
- Sprinkle flaked dulse over a baked potato to amp up the flavor of a classic.
Once all the ingredients are added to a small bowl or measuring cup, simply marinate the tofu in a sealed container for a minimum of 6 hours. I, though, prefer to marinate at minimal overnight or 24 hours if possible. The longer the tofu marinates, the more profound the flavors. Then, I layer place half the marinade in the bottom of the container, add half the tofu, and repeat.
GRILLING THE TOFU FOR LEMONGRASS TOFU RECIPE
As a rule, my favorite method of cooking tofu is using the grill. Without a doubt, I love the grill lines and the deep flavors of grilled tofu.
In order to grill the perfect tofu on the grill, first, pre-heat the grill to medium or 400 degrees. Then, arrange the tofu directly on the grill for a total of 20 minutes, flipping four times to get the pretty grill marks. Next, I return the tofu to the container to soak up more marinade. At this point, you have two choices; cut it in strips now and use it, or put it in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Even though I planned to use the lemongrass tofu cold for a Vietnamese noodle recipe, it is great hot right off the grill. I even used the extra marinade and added it to my dressing for an extra lemongrass flavor.
And, of course, you can use lemongrass tofu on any Asian recipe.
- Kale Asian Pasta Salad
- Oil-Free Vegetable No Fried Rice
- Yum Yum Noodles
- Vegan Thai Tahini Veggie Noodle Bowls
- Skinny Thai Green Curry
- Skinny Thai Curry Noodle Bowl
- Thai Red Curry Vegetables
- Vegan Zoodle Pad Thai
- Vegan Panang Curry Noodle Bowl
If you enjoy lemongrass tofu recipe and enjoy sharing your own with likeminded people, join our Facebook group Vegan & Plant-Based Recipe Sharing.