The People’s Tofu

The People's Tofu

I’ve found that the easiest way to make tofu amazing is to marinade it overnight, regardless of what any given recipe may call for.

This allows the marinade juices to really soak in and infuse the tofu with an eye-popping, skeptic-converting amount of flavour.

For so long I didn’t take advantage of  tofu,  until an awesome recipe or two opened my eyes to the creative cooking possibilities that abound for this blank slate of foods!

Switching to a plant-based diet, and the frenzy of cooking that ensued, encouraged me to experiment much more than ever. Despite a few definite misses – I call those ones the “learning curves” 😉 – I have a collection of around 15 kickass, crowd-pleasing marinades.

Build up a repertoire of go-to marinade recipes and you will always have a way to deliciously incorporate tofu into your dinner plans. Press,  marinade,  fry (or bake!). Tofu is so easy to prepare: those three steps are all you need!

Of course, tofu packs a big nutritional punch, too. Your body loves it! Soy has a great amount of protein, and as long as it has been set with calcium (check the label),  enjoying tofu will boost your daily intake of calcium as well.

A word on sesame oil: You will notice that many of these use sesame oil – if you don’t have any it’s all good: use canola, rice bran or peanut oil instead. I use sesame because a) I love the stuff and b) it adds to the x-factor, flavour-wise. You should be able to find sesame oil on the shelves of your local supermarket – check the label to make sure that you are buying 100% sesame oil, though, not a cheap (er) blend… some brands are sneaky.

Here are a couple of recipes to add to – or maybe even to start! – your collection. Each recipe is good for one 250/300g block of firm tofu.


Poppy-Lime Marinade

Juice of one lime
1 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp water

Spiced Lemon-Soy Marinade

Juice of one large lemon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp water


Wrap tofu in a couple of layers of paper towels, then sandwich between two medium plates and put a heavyish book on top to add extra weight. Leave your tofu to press for 30 minutes, then flip it over and press for a further 30 minutes.

Slice into 12 pieces, width-wise, and set aside.

Add marinade ingredients to an 11 × 7″ baking dish and whisk to combine. Add tofu slices,  flipping each piece to make sure both sides are covered. Cover the dish and refrigerate for around 24 hours, flipping the tofu once or twice during marinating.

To cook tofu, lightly fry in a little rice bran oil for 2 minutes, then add a 1/4 cup of leftover marinade and cook on medium heat until both sides  of the slices begin to brown, around 6-8 minutes.

Each recipe serves 2-3.


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