Tofu marinades transform the flavor of tofu by offering a variety of different tastes, textures, and cooking styles. Asian-inspired marinades, curry marinades, and smoky-flavored marinades for tofu are just a few of the types of sauces that can enhance the entire soybean curd experience. Whether vegetarian, vegan, or meat-eater, the right marinated tofu concoction opens the taste buds to new and refreshing worlds of flavor.
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 by the curd. It also provides a meatier texture and greatly reduces the amount of time the tofu has to soak in marinade to achieve maximum flavor. When tofu prepared in this manner is fried, it is called dry-fry tofu.
Asian-inspired tofu marinades like Szechuan and Thai sauces can add an exotic tang to standard bean curd. Since 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 Szechuan marinades are made with soy sauce or tamari, ginger, garlic, and a spice with a bit of heat, like cayenne pepper. Thai marinades are also extremely popular. These recipes mix the flavors of soy sauce, lime juice, basil, and red pepper flakes to capture the unique zest of Thai cooking; peanut sauce is another staple of Thai cuisine and makes an ideal marinade.
Other Asian-derived tofu marinades are influenced by the flavors of 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 an array of fresh vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, peas, and even raisins.
There are also tofu marinades that are more Western in taste. Barbecue sauce, for example, makes a zesty, smoky marinade for bean curd. Connoisseurs of that smoky flavor can also enjoy a homemade marinade consisting of Bragg's Liquid Aminos — similar to soy sauce but with a slightly smokier taste — garlic, and onion.
When it comes to the marinating process and the actual cooking of the tofu, there are several effective preparation methods. Before placing the curd in the marinade, it can be cut into steak-like slabs, triangles, or tofu cubes. Baked tofu, grilled tofu, and fried tofu are among the most popular ways to cook up this one-of-a-kind meat alternative.