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Mad Hungry: Tofu

With some help from an expert and friend, Lucinda Scala Quinn adds a new staple to her weeknight rotation.

Tofu used to scare me. There, I said it. I love eating it, and I order it all the time from Asian restaurants. But then I’d buy it in the market and bring it home and have few ideas about how to make it taste as good. (It doesn’t help that in the 1970s, I was traumatized by bad home-cooked renditions of bean-curd health food.) I was recently rehabilitated, however, by my friend Andrea Nguyen and her comprehensive new cookbook, "Asian Tofu." Her vast range of doable, reliable recipes (starting with one for, yes, DIY tofu) sheds light on this wonder food. Think of it as an alternative to the beloved chicken breast -- it takes on the flavors of whatever you prepare it with. Plus, it’s a plant-based, planet-friendly protein. Andrea showed me not only how to shop for different types of tofu, but also some simple dinners that, thanks to a few Asian pantry items, I could add to my regular dinner repertoire. Tofu, I realized, really is for everyone -- the tofu fearless or fearful alike.

Recipes

Japanese Chilled Tofu
Spicy Tofu with Beef and Szechuan Peppercorns
Pressed Tofu and Peanuts in Spicy Bean Sauce

Recipes adapted with permission from "Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home," copyright 2012 by Andrea Nguyen, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, California.

 

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