Tofu Scramble!
December 2, 2013 4:28 PM   Subscribe

I always have trouble finding good things to eat for breakfast, but I suddenly remembered tofu scramble! Lots of protein, not sweet, can be made ahead, and capable of many variations. Perfect. So please tell me, what's your favorite version?

Do you prefer firm or soft tofu? Cubed or crumbled? What are the best flavors and additions?

About me:
1. I'm not vegetarian or vegan, I just really like tofu.
2. I don't like mushrooms or bell peppers.
3. I have access to nearly any kind of multicultural market or ingredient.
posted by exceptinsects to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 85 users marked this as a favorite
You have awesome timing! I just tried this recipe over the weekend, and loved it. It makes lots, so 2 more servings are in my fridge. The creator also suggested chopping up and adding one parsnip, and I will likely do that next time. Here it is, with peppers and mushrooms omitted/ replaced by other things:

Madison Tofu Scramble

Serves: 3
Preparation Time: 25 minutes

3 whole scallions, diced
1/2 cup finely chopped zucchini squash
[1 single peeled and chopped parsnip]
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 small stalks celery, diced
14 ounces firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash no salt seasoning
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
5 ounces baby spinach, coarsley chopped
1 teaspoon soy or Bragg Liquid Aminos

In a large skillet, over medium/high heat, sauté scallions, zucchini, tomato, [parsnip], garlic and celery in 1/4 cup water for 5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
posted by bearwife at 4:42 PM on December 2, 2013

I make a rather delicious but tremendously bastardised version of Chai Tow Kway, also known as "fried carrot cake" and popular in Singapore and Malaysia. The tofu replaces the "carrot cake" (actually a bland steamed cake made from radish and rice). Cube and stir fry a block of hard tofu with a chopped clove of garlic, add an egg and scramble till cooked. Add sweet soy sauce (not the thin salty kind) and chilli to taste, stir fry some more, serve with chopped shallots. If you want to include more vegetables, bean sprouts, radishes or ordinary carrots are a good match. If you want more protein, add prawns/shrimps.
posted by embrangled at 4:43 PM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

These are the two sets of additions I like to make best, with crumbled firm or medium-firm tofu (I also scramble the tofu by itself before adding the other stuff, to get it to release a lot of water first):

sauteed garlic, maybe some onion
cooked drained spinach (I use a ton of it)
sometimes little florets of broccoli
red bell peppers, diced or in thin strips
parmesan if I've got it
good basil pesto


black beans
red bell peppers, diced or in thin strips
zucchini, diced
sometimes leftover squash
sometimes spinach
ancho chili powder

Mmm, now I want scrambled tofu!
posted by Edna Million at 5:30 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

I make a rudimentary kind, but people seem to like it:

One onion, chopped finely
Garlic to taste, chopped
Block of extra firm tofu
Nutritional yeast
Olive oil
Lemon juice
rated carrot, any amount
Some of the following: chili, paprika, salt, pepper, tamari, garlic powder, tabasco, sriracha, cumin, turmeric
(Also, you can use microwaved and pressed spinach - microwave the spinach until it's started to soften, then wrap in cheesecloth (or paper towels) and squeeze out liquid - this keeps it from getting the scramble too damp.)

Cook the chopped onion until soft - you can either carmelize it or not, this will change the flavor. Toward the end, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Crumble the tofu and stir it around until it's all broken up. (I don't press it - I feel that it has an eggier texture unpressed.) Add nutritional yeast, salt and lemon to taste, along with whichever of the other flavorings you would like. Add the finely grated carrot and cook just a little longer. (Add spinach if using.)

I usually use cumin and chili or else paprika.
posted by Frowner at 5:31 PM on December 2, 2013

(I think one of the great divides in scrambled tofu is whether you like your tofu really dry or softer and wetter. I find scramble with really dry tofu to get leathery easily, but other people find softer tofu scramble too liquidy.)
posted by Frowner at 5:32 PM on December 2, 2013

Synchronicity: I've never eaten tofu scramble before in my life until about an hour before this question was posted! I ate the kind sold frozen in the supermarket, the brand is Amy's Organics, and it was tasty.
posted by mareli at 5:40 PM on December 2, 2013

I do this with eggs sometimes too, but usually tofu,since my roomie really loves those Amy's Breakfast Burritos and we only buy them when on sale. I make these in HUGE batches to freeze ahead.

Make a big batch of scrambled tofu. Add turmeric, salt and pepper, leftover potatoes, black beans, veggie bacon, etc. to taste.
Heat up a skillet on low. Toss a tortilla on there, and then put out a sheet of plastic wrap, and a paper towel on top of that (I like the half sized paper towels)
When your tortilla is warm, put that on the paper towel, and fill it with a big spoonful of scramble. Top with shredded cheddar and a spoonful of salsa.

Roll it up, wrap in paper towel, then saran wrap, then freeze in freezer bags.

To reheat, unwrap the saran wrap, but leave it in the paper towel, and mircrowave for 1.5-2 minutes.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 5:43 PM on December 2, 2013 [5 favorites]

Less of a scramble and more of a stir-fry, but since you're interested in breakfast food have you thought about using dried tofu (dou gan)? My favorite way to serve it is to cut it into thin slices and stir-fry it with scallion, enoki mushrooms, bamboo shoots and bean sprouts. It tastes delicious chilled, so you can even do this the night before and leave it in the fridge for the morning if you want to cut down on prep time. It's got a bit of an earthy and refreshing taste that pairs well with congee.
posted by Conspire at 5:51 PM on December 2, 2013

If you ask me, the most important key to making good scrambled tofu is getting good, fresh, milky-tasting tofu, and House is the best brand.

My favorite way to make it is Indian style--saute finely chopped onion and jalapenos, add a little chopped tomato, then crumbled tofu, a little turmeric mixed with water, and salt and pepper. Then in a separate pan, dry roast some whole cumin seeds, then crush them, and sprinkle on top, along with some cilantro. The roasted cumin seeds are a big part of the deliciousness, don't be tempted to skip this step.
posted by HotToddy at 5:52 PM on December 2, 2013

I don't have a recipe, handy, unfortunately, but tofu scramble is amazing with some tahini.
posted by eponym at 5:54 PM on December 2, 2013

I make mine with turmeric, curry powder, chili powder and some garlic salt. Use whatever veggies you've got around (I always use mushrooms and green peppers . . . )
posted by mibo at 6:26 PM on December 2, 2013

Everyone loves my tofu scramble. Here's how I make it:

Saute garlic, about 1/4 of a finely diced onion, or a shallot in olive oil until soft and starting to brown.
Add whatever veggies are in your fridge: my favorites are finely shredded kale, diced tomato, bell peppers (which you don't like). Zucchini is good. I'd stay away from broccoli or cabbage. Cook on a medium heat until almost cooked.
Add tofu - about twice the quantity as you have of vegetables. If you want egg-like, use mushed-up silken. If you don't care, use crumbled extra firm.

Mix up roughly equal portions of mirin (Japanese rice wine), a light-colored miso, Bragg's (or tamari), and a little turmeric.

When the tofu is "cooked" (but not browned), add the liquid. Cook until cooked. Serve with toast. Everyone will love you.
posted by latkes at 6:38 PM on December 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

Fast basic scrambled tofu (can generate breakfast leftovers for the whole week):

Into a 14-16" skillet (with cover), put two blocks of tofu. Firm is good, one firm and one silken firm is good, two medium blocks is good, etc.

Turn on the skillet - medium-high heat. Squash the tofu blocks with the back of a fork.

In a small drinking glass or teacup, mix about a teaspoon of salt with about 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (this prevents the turmeric from clumping). Pour a little (1/8 cup?) water into the glass, then pour the whole mixture onto the tofu. Mix with a spatula.

Cover the skillet; cook until the water boils a while, then uncover. Serve current days breakfast from the skillet when desired (taste test and decide whether to add more salt to everything). Boil off most of the water, then store the rest of the tofu for consumption on subsequent mornings.
posted by amtho at 6:45 PM on December 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

This is very very basic.

Grate some carrots (3 maybe?) and slice some onions very fine. Scallions would work too. Saute in frying pan with some oil. Add in a few splashes of soy sauce, a few shakes of powdered garlic and powdered ginger, and if you like, some sesame seeds. Cook for a few minutes until the carrot softens and the onion starts to be translucent.

Then, add the tofu (between 1/2 lb and 1 lb.) I just squeeze it with my hands and stir it in, but I guess you could mash it with a fork. Stir well and heat through. Add some toasted sesame oil and/or more soy sauce if you want.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:55 PM on December 2, 2013

I don't think it qualifies as a scramble, exactly, but How to Cook Everything includes a delicious recipe for tofu with walnuts and green onions. (Unfortunately, I can't eat it anymore, or any of these recipes with turmeric and/or cumin, but it is REALLY good.)
posted by wintersweet at 6:59 PM on December 2, 2013

Looks like you've got lots of great recipes and suggestions. I especially second the turmeric, nutritional yeast, sauteed onions, and wilted kale suggestions (in addition to other things), and raise you tomatoes and avocado, maybe Tabasco or sriracha. Sometimes if it's especially well-seasoned and liquidy, I'll throw in cubes/crumbs of stale bread, which soak up the liquid and hydrate into deliciousness (this is more a way to use up the bread than an addition to the tofu).

One of my favorite shortcuts is to heat a pan, crumble some tofu into it, cook it for a bit, then rip open a packet curry (Trader Joe's Punjab Eggplant is my favorite for this) and pour it in. Mix it up, heat it through, and you're done. Delicious for any scramble application, or, given a pleasing tofu-to-curry ratio, a nice high-protein (and low-carb, presumably) alternative to curry+rice.
posted by spelunkingplato at 10:11 PM on December 2, 2013

My favorite recipe is Scrambled Tofu from the Post Punk Kitchen. You can pretty much use whatever veggies you have on hand (I like kale and tomato better than mushroom and carrots) but the real trick is pressing and draining the tofu in advance.

1/4 cup of nutritional yeast sounds like a lot, but when you combine it with the spice blend they recommend, it's strangely addictive. Just don't forget the crush the thyme!
posted by Space Kitty at 10:19 PM on December 2, 2013

Give this a read.
posted by booknerd at 7:55 AM on December 3, 2013

Shit, reading this thread I realized that not only did I forget to list nutritional yeast in my instructions above, but I have been forgetting to include it in my own homemade scrambles for months now! I just knew something wasn't right!
posted by latkes at 10:25 AM on December 3, 2013

Isa Moskowitz (of the Post Punk Kitchen) has a new cookbook out that includes several tofu scramble recipes, all of which seem quite versatile.

And yeah, the nooch+turmeric is essential for a good tofu scramble.
posted by slogger at 11:43 AM on December 3, 2013

My favorite tofu scramble uses firm tofu and plenty of nutritional yeast. My dad, who will eat tofu but has never really *enjoyed* it before, loves this recipe:

I've never had dry mustard on hand so I just mix some dijon in with my tamari and it works fine. I consider the rosemary optional but the dill is a must.

Excited to try out these other recipes too!
posted by purple_bird at 1:26 PM on December 3, 2013

Response by poster: Nutritional yeast! I've never really cooked with it before. I'll have to look into that.

Thanks for all the great ideas!
posted by exceptinsects at 10:29 PM on December 3, 2013

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