Tofu recipes for meat eaters?
February 20, 2012 9:35 PM   Subscribe

Tofu recipes for meat eaters?

I’m a meat lover who adores tofu. Most recipes I find online are purely vegetarian recipes, but I like mixing meat with my tofu. I like how there’s quite a fair amount of mixing meats and tofu in asian cooking. For example, I love mapo doufu.
Can anyone point me in the direction of some other meat/tofu dishes? Asian recipes welcome of course, as well as recipes of other cuisines.
Oh, and I realize that I could just add meat/tofu to recipes that contain one but not the other, but I’m a novice cook who needs a bit of inspiration!
posted by ohmy to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Tofu with shitake mushrooms and chorizo. Delicious.
posted by ActionPopulated at 9:45 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh yes. Welcome to one of my personal favorite spicy, savory, delicious comfort food dishes of all time--kimchi soft tofu stew (kimchi soondubu jjigae). It's Korean and delicious.
posted by anonnymoose at 9:59 PM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Kimchi chigae, sundubu chigae, doenjang chigae... basically any of the Korean stews with both tofu and meat or seafood. Also fried tofu side dishes with Korean BBQ.

I'll sometimes make fish-fragrant eggplant with tofu and ground pork, though more often it's one or the other.
posted by WasabiFlux at 10:00 PM on February 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

A dish called "Green Perplexed Tofu" won an episode of Top Chef a few seasons ago. In it, Richard Blais and teammate(s?) marinated a block of tofu in rendered beef fat. I think they either grilled or pan seared it after that, so it tasted like a steak with the texture of tofu. Good episode. It's the first thing that comes to mind for meaty tofu dishes.

Mapo doufu is always a winner too. Traditionally, it's made with meat, though I always seem to see it on vegetarian sections of Szechuan menus now.
posted by supercres at 10:06 PM on February 20, 2012

(Oh jeez, that's what I get for skimming the question. Sorry, ignore the last bit.)
posted by supercres at 10:07 PM on February 20, 2012

I don't have a recipe but I just had mapo tofu tonight and it's delicious.
posted by cazoo at 10:31 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

stuffed tofu
posted by scalespace at 10:57 PM on February 20, 2012

Yup, I'm in here for the mapo tofu support too.

I don't know what sort of palate you have, but along the same line, tofu skin/yuba is extremely easy to stir fry with ground pork or pork slices.

Also common in Chinese soups is some sort of a ground pork and ginger meat ball, napa cabbage, soft tofu, shiitake mushrooms and vermicelli (mmmmmm, perfect winter dish).

Or, some common Chinese stews involve big pieces of some meat with bone, a bunch of spices, maybe herbs, maybe seaweed, maybe kaofu, maybe daikon, and maybe tofu knots. Something like this.

And lastly, I can see someone just making a very simple and clean western stir fry with some veggie like green beans or broccoli and cubed firm tofu and cubed chicken pieces.

Just adding this only because you mention you're a novice cook, not to be preachy, and you might be perfectly aware of this - it's worth it to look into meatless tofu recipes, because tofu is a protein, it's not as common to marry it to more protein, even in meat loving chinese cuisine. Also, I don't know where you get to shop for tofu, but if you have any sort of respectable asian market around, your variety of tofu product types should be super diverse to experiment with. There is an absolute myriad of textures and shapes for all sorts of different cooking styles (you can liken it to pasta shapes), as well as premarinated. As a general rule, soft silky tofu does better with meat because it contrasts the meat enough since it is more flavourless and a very different texture. Firm tofu does better as a meat analog because its texture is similar to meat and brings out the flavourings from the vegetables and herbs you use in a way that meat can't.

Good luck! I <3 tofu.
posted by joannqy at 11:02 PM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was taught most of these orally, using measurements like "thiiis much" so I can't give you any recipes, but here's some inspiration. Any of these recipes can be varied endlessly, so feel free to try out different spices and ingredients.

- julienne extra-firm tofu (the tough, wrinkly yellow blocks) and stir-fry with any subset of bamboo shoots, Auricularia auricula-judae, sliced shiitake mushrooms, diced or julienned pork, peanuts, and cubed spongy wheat gluten; serve with a sweet sauce based on hoisin sauce and soy sauce, or with a saltier sauce based on soy sauce with five-spice and just the tiniest little touch of cumin, thickened with cornstarch if desired. This dish is basically a big pile of hot, savory mess chopped up fine.

- boil pork neck bones, diced lean salt pork, and a piece of kombu seaweed to make a savory broth, then add sliced winter melon, cubed soft tofu, and optionally any of the following: bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, a tough sheet-like form of tofu tied into knots, julienned cabbage, rice noodles, wheat gluten balls or fish paste balls. (Note that adding tofu to a winter melon soup seems to be some sort of heresy specific to my maternal grandmother, although it seems perfectly reasonable and delicious to me.)

- braise a little ground pork with lots of salt, soy sauce, anise, black pepper, and red pepper, then pour over a bed of cubed soft tofu, steam just until heated through, and serve with a dash of chili oil. (This is probably the template for mapo tofu, if you add Sichuan peppercorn and bucketloads more red pepper, but there are other ways to spice it also.)

And on preview, joannqy beat me to about half my post. Bah!

Also, if you like tofu then I must share this tofu recipe even if it has no meat: cube silken tofu, marinate with soy sauce, sesame oil and minced ginger, and serve garnished with sliced scallions.
posted by d. z. wang at 11:18 PM on February 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

For Japanese food, I'd say no nabe is complete without some cubes of tofu in amongst the veggies and meat. Since its stewish, you should use the momen/firm tofu. For silk tofu/the soft stuff, small (1cm) cubes in wonton soup with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds. And of course, hot and sour soup. Definitely hot and sour soup. That's how I realized tofu could be good.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:48 AM on February 21, 2012

Pad thai. How has no one mentioned pad thai?
posted by lollusc at 3:08 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

My wife and I regularly eat a Cashew Chicken & Tofu stir-fry.

2 tbsp Peanut Oil
1.5 tbsp Fish sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 cup spring onion chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger
1/2 cup Toasted Cashews (less for us - diet version!)
4 Birds Eye Chillies
2 Chicken Thighs
coriander for garnish
Fried Tofu - 12 1 to 2 inch cubes (we buy bags of this at the local oriental market. I'm not sure how exactly the make it)

Toast the cashews while prepping.
Large pan - heat oil with garlic and ginger- medium high - cook for a bit (30 seconds?) then add chicken - cook until white. Then add everything else except the spring onion. stir it occasionally but try and let things get a bit brown and caramelized too. Add the spring onion at the very end and give it a few moments of cooking before serving over bowls of rice. Garnish with coriander.
posted by srboisvert at 4:42 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Maple grilled tempeh (or pressed tofu) is amazing, and I believe the marinade would be awesome on salmon as well. You'd probably want to marinate them and grill them separately to account for different cooking times, but I think the two textures/flavors would complement each other nicely. Many of her recipes are fairly simple and vegetarian but easy enough to translate to both tofu/tempeh and meat.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:54 AM on February 21, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, these all look great.

A bit of further information about me, if it helps: when I say "novice" cook, I mean that I am more a of a follow-a-recipe person, versus a cook-whatever's-in-your-fridge person. I'm familiar with cooking basics, I just get really stuck when it comes to having to freestyle or having to alter recipes! I'm not a novice eater though... I'm very adventurous and don't dislike very many things.

As I suspected, there are lots of asian recipes, which is fantastic! I'm curious to see if anyone has anything non-asian to suggest, as I haven't really been exposed to very much tofu/meat mixing in dishes of other origins.

Keep 'em coming!
posted by ohmy at 6:22 AM on February 21, 2012

Response by poster: Oh and also, I'm open to ideas that involve tofu as the main protein, but also use non-vegetarian ingredients, such as broth/fat etc.

I've eaten a lot of and tried cooking a number of tofu only/vegetarian dishes and I always find that even though it's good, I still miss the essence of meat.
posted by ohmy at 6:25 AM on February 21, 2012

Tofu Bacon Fritters (Wanzi)
posted by ifjuly at 7:34 AM on February 21, 2012

Chop some up into small bits and put it in your chili. The tofu absorbs some sauce and adds weight to the flavors.
posted by davextreme at 8:15 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tofu Burgers with Bacon (bastardized from a Canadian Living recipe):
slice x-firm tofu into 1/2 in thick slices, marinate 1/2 hr in a mixture of 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, some crushed garlic, big handful chopped basil, salt and pepper. Barbeque over medium heat until browned, brushing with marinade often. Use the rest of the marinade to brush some buns and brown them. Mix a splash of lemon juice and garlic into some mayo, to taste. Build burgers with some mayo, tofu, slices of crispy bacon, leaves of basil, tomato, sweet pepper, onion, etc.

You can take some frozen firm tofu, thaw it, drain it, crumble it really finely, and fry it up in bacon fat and seasonings to use as taco meat. I guess you could cook ground pork or beef together with the crumbled tofu too, although I haven't tried that.
posted by bluebelle at 8:19 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pad Thai with deep-fried tofu. Deep fried tofu is excellent with dipping sauces, try using it alongside broccoli, carrots, etc., and instead of chips or crackers.
posted by theora55 at 3:25 PM on February 21, 2012

I've made these baked tofu steaks and mushroom gravy lots of times, and they're AMAZING (and not Asian whatsoever).

FWIW, I hardly ever have mushrooms, so I just do the gravy w/o mushrooms, and it's great.
posted by nosila at 4:02 PM on February 21, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Fantastic answers! I will definitely do some tofu/meat exploration inspired by your suggestions in the coming weeks.
posted by ohmy at 2:03 PM on February 22, 2012

I add cubed soft tofu to my bean and veggie soups. I just love the texture, and it also adds a bit more protein.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:18 PM on February 23, 2012

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