Being a curious person, I always love asking questions. Since becoming a mom, a home chef and a food blogger, I have even more questions to ask – more than ever before! Unfortunately, most are still unanswered. But I believe if I keep asking questions, it will surely lead me to some pleasant discoveries.
“What is it? How does it taste? Why do I need to freeze it? How do I freeze it? How can I cook it?”
Driven by curiosity and without giving much thought, I immediately went ahead to freeze a block of tofu. I felt so amused with this impulsive act. Anyway, I spent some time to explore further. After cooking this frozen tofu, I find myself prefer the texture of frozen tofu over that of the fresh ones. Why? Just read on.
Frozen tofu, also known as “Thousand Layer Tofu” (千葉豆腐), is nothing new if you go to dig more from Wikipedia (Yes, I know. I’m so slow to learn this.). Freezing tofu will not affect its nutritional value but would trigger a change in its texture from smooth and creamy to spongy and porous. Large ice crystals developed within the tofu during the freezing process cause the formation of large cavities which appear to be layered. Frozen tofu will take on a yellowish hue. When thawed, the tofu loses a fair amount of water. At this point, you can easily squeeze out any excess water from the tofu. This will give the tofu a greater capacity to absorb whatever flavour you’re cooking or marinating with.
Though you can freeze any types of tofu, the firm or extra firm ones (for silken tofu) are much easier to handle and work best. It’s also important to drain the tofu before freezing. This will ensure little moisture is retained in the tofu, which will make it structurally more stable and firm after being thawed.
Learning how to freeze tofu is as simple as it sounds. Simply follow the step-by-step tutorial in PAGE 3. Tofu can be frozen as a whole in its original container, or drained and wrapped in plastic wrap until it’s needed. The former produces a softer consistency texture than the latter. Or, you can also choose to cut it into slabs or cubes prior to freezing, separating them with greaseproof or plastic paper. The method chosen will depend on how you plan to use it.
Due to its “leathery” texture, frozen tofu is not suitable to use for creamy dishes such as smoothie, spread or dips. However, it’s perfect for stir-frying, grilling, addition to soup, stews or salad, and sandwich filling. It can also be sliced, breaded and pan-fried like cutlets. If you are looking for a vegetarian substitute that produces a chewy, meat-like texture, then frozen tofu is a good option.
I make frozen tofu salad for my family recently. It’s such a refreshing meal to enjoy during this superhot weather. After the tofu is thawed, I cut the tofu into cubes and pan-fry them till nicely brown. To give this salad a colourful touch and crunchy bite, I add cherry tomatoes, Japanese cucumbers and sweet corns. A sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds over the salad will add some wonderful aroma and crunch too. Feel free to try out other ingredients of your choice. You can eat this salad either at room temperature or chilled from the fridge. You can also include some cooked pasta and turn this salad into a wholesome one dish meatless meal.
I concocted a Japanese creamy sesame dressing to compliment this salad. The dressing is burst with fragrant sesame flavour. For a creative twist, you can prepare this sauce as a delicious dip and serve it with mini vegetable skewers or colourful vegetable sticks. It’s another effective way to encourage your little ones to eat more vegetables. This simple salad is so good – healthy, easy to assemble and flavourful. I told myself that I could eat it everyday.
A happy ending to my new discovery!
Other recommended reading references:
– 100 things to do with tofu
– Frequentlt asked questions about tofu
– How to freeze tofu wit tips and its benefits
– How to freeze tofu (cooking information and techniques)
– Can you freeze tofu?
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