I returned from my trip to Asia to a totally empty fridge. So I decided to scavenge whatever I could from the freezer. One of the things I defrosted was 4 pounds of frozen tofu. I decided to use half of the tofu to make my mom’s barbecued tofu recipe, but I wanted to find a new recipe for the rest of the tofu. There aren’t a whole lot of recipes on the internet that call for frozen tofu, but I found this “veggie burger” recipe on the ultimateveggieburgers blog. (By the way, I love the clean look of the blog and the fact that the author is quite critical about the recipes tried.) It’s not so much a veggie burger as a big hunk of marinated tofu. Either way, the blogger raves about it, so I figured it was worth a try. Apparently, although the recipe comes via Dr. Weil’s website, it’s originally from Bryanna Clark Grogan’s The ( Almost ) No Fat Cookbook.
The first step is to get as much liquid out of the tofu as possible. The “wrap in tea towels and top with weights” method worked pretty well, but then you just add back all the water in the marinade. I guess the idea is to get the unflavored water out so that you can get the flavored marinade water in? It still seems odd that you get the tofu so wet after you just went to all the trouble of getting it dry.
I followed the recipe exactly, using a German yeast extract for the Marmite. I let my tofu marinate overnight in the fridge. I arranged the tofu in a single layer in a tupperware, but when I poured the marinade over it, the marinade only came about halfway up the tofu. So when I woke up in the morning I flipped the tofu to try to get the top side equally marinated.
The recipe doesn’t say anything about drying the tofu after marinating. It just says to pan-fry the tofu (in an unspecified amount of oil) on a lightly-oiled heavy skillet until browned on both sides. I tried doing this but my tofu was so wet that it didn’t really fry well. In the end the top and bottom were slightly browned, but the inside was still totally soft and still quite wet. And the flavor of the dried herbs with the yeast extract was pretty odd. Derek insisted it tasted like Spam. It was definitely not very appealing. The taste wasn’t great and the texture was awful. I don’t know what I did wrong. Granted, we didn’t eat this as a veggie burger on a bun–we just ate it as a slab of tofu along with some grains and veggies on the side.
The next day I took the rest of the tofu and baked it in the oven on oiled cookie sheet. The tofu was much drier inside, the outside crispier, and the dried herb flavor had mellowed. I served it with a “relish” made from grated carrot, minced onions, and pineapple chunks in a slightly sweet and sour sauce. Derek liked it a lot. I don’t think he loved the tofu so much as the fact that it served as a nice textured carrier for the relish. But it’s nice to know that if I want I can get a reasonably flavorful frozen tofu without marinating it in lots of olive oil or peanut butter. Still, if I try this again I’m going to change the marinade quite a bit.
Rating (after pan-frying): C
Rating (after baking): B