Can’t get enough tofu

Five spice tofu with sweet chili sauce

Canon G11, ISO 200, 1/30 sec, f/4.5

Silken tofu with tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup

Canon 6OOD, ISO 400, 1/15 sec, f/4, 50mm

TWO TOFU RECIPES! Who likes tofu as much as I do? Like brussels sprouts, mushrooms and chicken livers (to name a few), you either love tofu or hate it. People who don’t like tofu don’t like its texture and its taste (or lack of it). But the trick is always in what you mix with it.

Five spice tofu

Canon G11, ISO 200, 1/30 sec, f/4.5

Where I used to live, I cooked tofu every weekend. Most of the time, I would simply fry it and use a dipping sauce of vinegar, soy sauce and chopped onions. Then I almost burned the house. So I stopped cooking tofu that way. Actually, I just stopped cooking tofu, period. How did I manage to almost burn the house, you asked? Watery tofu + very hot cooking oil + old range hood grease filter = Fire. Thank God for a fire extinguisher and a housemate who knew how to make it work (I couldn’t!). Thank God also for a boyfriend who painstakingly wiped out the fire smoke stains from the kitchen ceiling.

It took me a while to get back to cooking tofu again. I now make sure the tofu is dry before carefully putting it in the hot oil. I also tried baking tofu instead (as I learned from Lorena of The Rich Hours. She has a wonderful baked tofu recipe from her eBook). But fried tofu is still what I crave for.

Five spice tofu with sweet chili sauce

Canon G11, ISO 200, 1/30 sec, f/4.5

Five-spice tofu with sweet chili dipping sauce ~ Recipe here

For this recipe, I made sure it is extra dry and flavorful by coating it with flour mixed with five spice powder. The dipping sauce is a mixture of rice vinegar, sweet chili sauce and sweet soy sauce. If you haven’t discovered sweet soy sauce yet (called Kecap Manis in Asian stores) then you’re missing a lot! It’s one of my secret ingredients (oops! not a secret anymore!) thus is always present in my pantry.

And as if fried tofu is not enough, what about silken tofu for dessert?

Tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup

Canon 6OOD, ISO 400, 1/15 sec, f/4, 50mm

Filipinos call this warm dessert “Taho”. You can read stories on the Internet about how “taho” is sold by street peddlers and how it always brings back fond memories of childhood in the Philippines. I never thought I could make it myself by using silken tofu available in supermarkets, until I read a blog – that is now close to my heart – by New York-based food blogger and photographer Jun Belen. I followed his recipe to a T and at that moment I was a very happy child again.

Silken tofu with tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup

Canon 6OOD, ISO 400, 1/15 sec, f/4, 50mm

 Adapted from Jun Belen’s Taho recipe: Silken tofu with tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup ~ Recipe here


About Dolly Rubiano

I am passionate about photography and food is my favourite subject. I like shooting people too, especially when they’re not looking. I am a regular contributor as photographer to FishHead magazine, a local lifestyle magazine in Wellington, New Zealand. I blog about my experiments in the kitchen and don't cook anything that has four legs. Please get in touch if you would like to work with me regarding food styling and photography. View all posts by Dolly Rubiano

7 responses to “Can’t get enough tofu

  • JD

    You made a tofu believer out of me!

  • oiyoufood

    Very interesting recipes.
    Also very interesting that you have given camera details on your photos. Today I have purchased my first DSLR. Still haven’t opened the package. Going to read more about it before I open it!! (Nikon D5100)

    • Dolly Rubiano

      Yay to the first DSLR, Nargess! As long as you use manual mode, you’re on the right track to a wonderful world of endless possibilities. I share the camera settings so that those who are interested in food photography could learn from it. I’m more a food photographer than a cook. The downside to using a DSLR is the need for different lenses since they are expensive. I still find my little Canon G11 very handy and use it for a lot of my food shots as you can see. It has manual mode too. I use the big one with the big lens when I’m on professional shoots. Mainly to shock the clients. =)

  • tinywhitecottagetin

    You have really mastered the tofu! I glad the bad experience “sort of” wore off so now your are making tofu again. How can starting a fire like that ever completely wear off! I love tofu too and especially fried. I have never made it and now I have your recipe to use. The sauce sounds like it has great elements of sweet, spicy and sour. And your photos are sensational…as always! 🙂

  • laurasmess

    These recipes look gorgeous Dolly. Tofu is delicious when cooked right… the disappointing thing is that so many people cook it badly so it ends up tasteless and boring! The dessert looks beautiful. I often order a similar thing at a local Yum Cha restaurant a few minutes from where I live. I think they use sago instead of tapioca pearls though. Thanks for sharing these recipes (and your photographs are so lovely) x

  • Irina @ wandercrush

    Agedashi tofu is a sure-fire way to convert any tofu skeptics! I especially love that you’ve shown the sweet side of tofu, which isn’t nearly as popular in the Western world. This post has me craving tofu now… definitely picking some up in Chinatown!

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