If tofu had a gateway recipe, it would be tofu scramble. It’s easy to make. Familiar. Highly customizable. It calls to you on rainy Sunday mornings. It gets you hooked and then suddenly you’re like a five-star tofu chef — freezing it and marinating it and making fancy things out of it.
Thank goodness tofu scramble has vegetables in it. Because if deep fried tofu nuggets were the easy thing to make with to tofu, we’d all be in trouble. Golden brown, crunchy trouble. But no! There are vegetables here. As many as your pan can accommodate. And they can be whatever combo floats your boat. Boat floating. That’s what tofu scramble does. That’s why it has a place in our hearts.
One of the complaints I hear about tofu scramble is that it’s wet and soggy when you get right down to it. It sure can be! Vegetables give off loads of water while cooking and unpressed tofu doesn’t help matters any. So what can you do to dry up your scramble? Think in batches and press your tofu.
1) Pressing. I was lucky enough to get a fancy, state-of-the-art tofu press from the fine folks over at TofuXpress. That thing is MAGIC. In one hour (see above photo!) it pressed more water out of a block of extra firm tofu than I have ever pressed with the more traditional method of a couple plates, a roll of paper towels, and a really big book. Don’t get me wrong, that still works and in lieu of a fancy contraption, that’s totally the way to go. Pressed tofu browns much quicker, lets off much less water during cooking and has an overall firmer consistency.
All that said if pressing isn’t your thing, you can use tofu straight from the package and adjust your cooking time to eliminate excess water and encourage browning.
2) Veggies first. When making scramble, I want to start with the tofu. It feels like what you should do, but it’s not. Veggies first! I cook everything separately and then set aside to combine later. I find that gives each veggie the best chance to release maximum water. So here, I cooked the zucchini. Then mushrooms. Then spinach. All until “dry” which is really a test of your patience/hunger more than it is an official term of wetness.
3) Set aside. You can set your veggies aside in a bowl or if you are really out to make an official non-soggy tofu scramble you can set the veggies aside in a fine mesh colander over a bowl. This will help any sneaky liquid to drain away while you cook the tofu.
4) Cook the tofu. In the same pan you cooked all the vegetables, add your tofu and a little more oil if needed. Depending on your press (or lack thereof) it will brown up in 5-15 minutes on medium heat.
5) Incorporating. Once the tofu is brown, it’s time to introduce it to your veggie mix. If you used a bowl to store it, use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to the skillet. If you drained them, dump them right in from your colander. Mix them together and if there is still liquid, turn up the heat a little and cook until dry again.
6) Tomatoes. I add the tomatoes right at the end. This does give off some water, but no so much that it sogs it up. You can cook them with the veggies if you’d like though.
So there you have it! Six steps to a dry tofu scramble! Woot woot!
Remember 500 words ago when I said it was highly customizable? It is. Use whatever you have on hand. Browned potatoes are excellent. Asparagus is a favorite. Go crazy. Same with seasonings. Anything goes. Lots of people add in nutritional yeast which I don’t do. I use it in other things but I don’t like how it smells when cooking so I tend to leave it out in this. Add a tablespoon or two if you love it.
1 package extra firm tofu, pressed for best results
2 zucchini, sliced
1 8-oz package of crimini mushrooms, sliced
4-5 cups loosely packed spinach
1 tomato, medium sized, sliced
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash or other favorite seasoning mix (if with salt, omit salt below)
salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet on medium heat, cook vegetables in olive oil with all seasonings until dry. You might want to taste test for spice levels. Should be a bit strong since you will be adding it to un-spiced tofu in a bit.
In the same pan you cooked the vegetables, add a bit more oil if needed and crumble in your tofu. Cook until dry and browned. About 5-15 minutes depending on moisture level of your tofu.
Once tofu is browned and dry, add in vegetable mix and stir to incorporate. Cook again until pan is dry and any vegetable liquid has evaporated.
Serve hot with a side of multi-grain toast and a glass of orange juice.