Monday, March 3, 2008

Tofu Tacos

I can't say enough good things about tofu tacos. I know many of you shy away at the mere mention of tofu, but I've converted several people with this recipe. It should be mentioned that I'm not using tofu specifically as a meat substitute; it's good in its own right. There are, however, a few tips that will bring out the best in your tofu.

1. Start with firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe (NOT silken tofu, even if it's labeled as firm).

2. Freeze the tofu and thaw it before you cook it. This toughens the proteins giving it a meatier texture. When you thaw it, gently ring out as much water as you can - like a sponge.

3. Use an ultra seasoned wok or a teflon pan capable of browning food. If you use a stainless steel pan, be sure to have a metal spatula capable of scraping the fond from the pan (hold it upside down and scrape firmly; think cow catcher instead of snow shovel). It's important to brown the tofu to develop flavor and to minimize the scrambled egg texture.

I like to start my sauté with onions and maybe some peppers. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to evacuate the vegetables before adding the tofu. It's important that you use medium high heat and a fair amount of oil. Don't forget the salt! Once you have achieved browning, add the vegetables back in and sauté the garlic being careful not to let it burn. Season liberally with paprika, chili powders, cumin and the like. Then deglaze with a liquid of your choice (wine, vegetable stock, or lime juice and some water), and be sure to cook the liquid back out for a firmer texture.

Use a good quality corn tortilla and garnish with cheese, onion, salsa, leaf lettuce, lime juice, and yogurt.

Making the Tortillas (photo by Becka).

Tofu Tacos with, Onions, Lettuce, Cheddar Cheese, Tomatillo Salsa, Yogurt, and Chipotle Sauce.

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