A much-loved ingredient in Asian cuisine for thousands of years, tofu has recently become a superfood for vegans and health food fans.
While it lends itself well as a meat substitute, does this bland soybean curd work as breakfast food?
With the right recipe, it absolutely does! And with two of the right recipes, it’ll work twice as well.
A Brief Guide to Tofu
Tofu is, of course, soybean curd. It’s formed by combining soybean milk with coagulants like magnesium or nigari seaweed, then pressed until it forms a dense block.
It’s been the star of the show in many East Asian recipes for the past 2,000 years or so, not just because of its nutritional profile but also because of its unique ability to soak up flavors.
Tofu is a very pure ingredient, and because it has a high moisture content, it sucks up any sauces or marinades that it’s cooked in like nothing else.
In fact, tofu has proven time and time again to be a better addition to dishes like curries or stir-fries than paneer or meat because of this very reason.
There are several different tofu varieties commonly available e in grocery stores today, including soft to extra-firm block tofu and silken tofu.
The differences between the numerous varieties occur at the production stage; the more water that’s pressed out of the tofu, the firm the final texture will be.
The key to cooking successfully with tofu is to purchase the most suitable variety for the dish that you want to cook:
- Soft to Medium tofu blocks are equal parts dense and equal parts delicate. They shouldn’t be cooked under high temperatures like other varieties, but they work well in soups and lightly fried dishes.
- Firm to extra firm tofu blocks have textures that are the most like meat, and their denser consistency means they absorb flavors very well. They are “all-purpose” tofu blocks and are the best choice for stir-frying, baking, grilling, pan-frying, and scrambling.
- Silken tofu has an entirely different texture profile to block tofu because of the unique way it’s prepared. After the soybean milk has thickened, the curds aren’t separated from the whey as per the method used to create block tofu. Instead, they’re both solidified into the final product, giving silken tofu a very creamy and delicate texture. This type of tofu is at its best when used in blended dishes, like desserts and puddings, salad dressings, smoothies, and dips.
Find your Perfect Tofu Oatmeal Recipe
Whether you prefer your oatmeal breakfast to be sweet or savory, there’s a tofu oatmeal recipe out there for you.
Below are two of the most popular tofu oatmeal recipes, one for pancakes and one for an oatmeal scramble.
The pancake recipe calls for silken tofu, while the scramble recipe calls for extra-firm tofu.
You will need to press your extra-firm block tofu before starting the cooking process, which is easily achievable with a dedicated tofu press – the TofuBud press comes highly recommended.
Don’t press your silken tofu, though you’ll end up with quite a mess on your hands if you do!
Oatmeal Tofu Pancakes
You will need:
- 8 x oz silken tofu
- 2 ¼ x cups regular rolled oats (uncooked), divided
- 1 x large egg
- ¾ x cup almond milk (unsweetened)
- 2 x tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 x tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 x tsp vanilla extract
- 2 x tsp baking powder
- ½ x tsp sea salt
- Sliced almonds and maple syrup to serve
1. Add one and three-quarter cups of oats to a blender, processing until finely crumbed. Add in the silken tofu, half the coconut oil, maple syrup, milk, vanilla extract, egg, baking powder, and a pinch of salt, and continue processing until the mixture is smooth.
2. Stir in the remainder of the oats to the batter mixture and let it stand until the mixture has thickened (appx. 10 minutes).
3. In a large skillet pan, melt the remaining coconut oil over a medium heat. Spoon appx. ¼ batter onto the skillet, cooking until the edges turn golden brown (appx. 3 minutes). Flip, then cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding extra coconut oil to the skillet as necessary.
5. Serve warm with maple syrup and toasted almonds.
Oatmeal Tofu Scramble
You will need:
- 4 x oz. extra-firm block tofu, pressed and crumbled
- 1 x oz. uncooked rolled oats
- 6 x oz. carrots, yellow squash, and zucchini
- 6 x oz. Vegetable broth
- Pinch of turmeric powder
- Sea salt and black pepper
1. Grate your carrots and finely chop the squash and zucchini
2. In a large saucepan over a medium-high heat, combine the broth, oats, and vegetables. Add a pinch of salt, then bring to the boil.
3. Simmer on a low heat for appx. 5 minutes, ensuring that the oats maintain a creamy oatmeal consistency.
4. Heat a cast-iron skillet and add the tofu, turmeric, and pinch of salt and black pepper. Cook until the tofu is cooked through and lightly seared (appx. 1 to 2 minutes)
5. In the skillet, combine the oats mixture with the tofu and stir until well-mixed. Serve and enjoy.
Feel Free to Experiment
Once you’ve mastered these recipes, feel free to experiment by adding extra ingredients in here and there.
You can substitute the carrots and zucchini in the scramble recipe with your favorite veggies (or whatever’s leftover in the larder at the end of the week) and even add fruit or spices to the pancake recipe.