Tofu, a curdled soy product, works well in many vegetarian dishes. Because it’s a good source of protein, iron and calcium, tofu helps vegetarian and vegan families get nutrition that might typically come from animal products. Getting delicious tofu dishes on the table quickly is a breeze, if you use time-saving and flavor-enhancing techniques.
Choose regular -- not silken -- tofu, which is best for cooking. Of the varieties of regular tofu – ranging from soft to extra firm -- choose either firm or extra firm. The cooked texture will be more meat-like and crispy, rather than mushy or crumbly.
Drain the tofu. If you think about it the night before you want to serve your tofu dish, place the tofu in a colander, cover the top of the colander in plastic wrap and set it in a bowl. Let the tofu drain overnight in the refrigerator. For a faster draining method, pat the tofu dry with paper towels. A drier tofu will absorb more flavor from your marinade or seasonings.
Cut your tofu into small, thin rectangular pieces. For most recipes, 2-inch long slices will work. By cutting the tofu, you are exposing more of the surface of the tofu to whatever marinades or seasonings you use. This allows the tofu to take on a greater degree of flavor. These smaller pieces will also cook faster than bigger chunks or blocks.
Marinate or season the tofu. Tofu is naturally bland, but it easily absorbs the flavor of marinades and seasonings. Use soy sauce for a simple marinade, or try a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and honey Dijon. These marinades work well if you plan to pay-fry the tofu. Alternatively, cover your tofu slices in a mixture of ranch dressing mix and crushed cornflakes before cooking for a kid-friendly tofu nugget.
Pan-fry marinated tofu in a skillet for six to eight minutes. Bake seasoned tofu for 10 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.