ZB's Vegan Recipes

Here's where you can find some fun, tasty and generally pretty easy-to-make vegan (and often low GI) recipes. Enjoy!

Friday, November 03, 2006

What is she talking about??

I thought I'd take a moment to start a bit of a "Vegan's Guide". I know it took me a while to come to terms with some of the wacky new stuff that I started using in my cooking as a vegan, and even more so as someone on a low GI diet. I'll probably update this slowly, as things occur to me, so don't expect total revelation all at once (or, you know, ever...)

A lot of people reading this blog will already know this, but I thought I'd do it for the non-vegans, the interested, and also for myself - kind of a glossary/reference guide thingy. I'm pretty sure we're all going to learn something from this ;-)

'kay. I'm going to put links in as well, so you can go and read something written by someone far more knowledgeable than myself...

Tofu

Tofu is curd made from soy. It's traditionally used in Asian cuisine, but due to its texture, relative tastelessness and the variety available, it has been adopted into many Western style recipes...

Tofu generally comes in the following standard textures:

Extra Firm

This is the tofu I use for marinading/grilling etc. It's firmer and will stick together far more easily through grilling/baking etc. It still has quite a spongey texture, and often will retain a tofu-y flavour even when marinated. Not that there's anything wrong with a tofu-y flavour, but sometimes you may want to have something a little different. By either pressing, or freezing, defrosting and pressing extra firm tofu, you can get quite a different texture - quite chewy - and the tofu will pick up the flavours in a marinade much more strongly after this process.

So, get your tofu, cut it into even sized chunks (ie how much tofu do I use in a single meal?), wrap in glad wrap and freeze.

Defrost, and then place on a clean teatowel/paper towel. Place the teatowel/paper towel on top of the tofu as well, and put a nice heavy weight on top. Press until the liquid has pretty much all escaped from the tofu, remove the weight and the teatowel/paper towel. Cut/tear the tofu into your chosen shapes, marinate, cook and eat.

Num num num num.

Soft

This tofu is definitely not good for the freezing or marinating process (at least, I've always found it breaks to bits when I try to marinate it), but is great for chopping up and adding to soups, or to quiche or "cheese"cake bases. It's firmer than silken, but still very soft and creamy. I don't use it much, but I know it sometimes gets used for scrambled tofu.

Silken

I love this stuff! I use it as an egg replacement in both savoury (quiche) and sweet (cheesecake) recipes. I use it as a cream replacement in sorbets and icecream. I use it in salad dressings and sauces...It's got a great consistency for all of these, being incredibly soft and creamy, and also it takes up other flavours really well - though I have found it to be the strongest tasting of all of the tofus, so strong flavours around it are really important.

You can also get tofu skin, marinaded tofu, dried tofu, sweet tofu desserts etc. I don't really use a whole lot more than the tofu types listed above, so I've got not much information to impart. However, I do encourage (as always) experimenting with all the types of tofu - it's a great source of protein, you can get calcium enriched tofu, and it's fun to play with and eat!

Next time:

Nutritional Yeast (oh, how I love that Nutritional Yeast...)

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