Friday, March 15, 2013

Tofu Scramble, Notes on

I don't know why everyone thinks you need a recipe to make tofu scramble. You don't. You need some tofu, some onions, some turmeric, some salt, and some oil, and that's it. If you want to make it really, truly tasty, you need some cumin, a clove or two of garlic, maybe some fun mixed herbs (oregano or something), some veggies (bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach), some nutritional yeast, and maybe a dash of black pepper. This method has never failed, except the time when I used tofu that had gone off. I do not recommend you do that. You can not cook your way out of having let your tofu go bad.

Along these lines, it's easy to turn a tofu scramble into something more -- a breakfast scramble with french toast or pancakes on the side, a wrap with salsa or hot sauce, some avocado or guacamole, and vegan cheese layered on top, or even the basis for understanding how to make some nice cheesy fillings like ricotta for stuffed shells and pizza topping.

Basically, it's like soup-making. You find some ingredients that you like, and you throw them in. You mix things around and heat them up and taste a bit until you get it right. My music teacher used to say: "Whenever anyone asks me for a soup recipe to put in a collection, I tell them the same thing. Step One: Open your fridge. Step Two: Take ingredients out of fridge. Step Three: Fill a large pot with water. Step Four: Throw the ingredients in. Step Five: Taste and adjust."

This is essentially the same idea.

  • Don't skimp with the salt (or with the oil). It's an easy mistake to make, but tofu absorbs a lot of salt. Obviously don't dump too much oil or salt in, either -- you'll need to taste-test a few times, and watch to make sure everything in the pan is moving around easily. 
  • Make sure to boil out most of the water from the tofu, but don't let the whole mix shrivel up and dry out in the pan. 
  • Make sure to cook the onions first, then add the spices, then add the garlic, and then after these have cooked a bit on their own you may add the tofu. Mash it up in your hands and then plop it into the skillet, or drop the block of tofu in and chop it up haphazardly with a wooden spoon or spatula. Make sure it really crumbles.
  • Taste-test again and add more spices if needed. As for the turmeric, stop once you've seen that it's successfully coated the tofu. Too much turmeric is a weirdly dusty thing.

These are the main tenets of Tofu Scramble making. Follow them, and you will succeed!


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