When you try to cook tofu for the first time, it's often a frustrating experience. If it's not prepared properly, it ends up a soggy mess that lacks texture and taste.
Well, cooking tofu needn't be a dark art – it's actually quite easy when you know how. In just three steps, I'll show you how to make tofu that is delicious with a firm (optional: crispy) texture! It resembles the same texture as Quorn chicken and can be added to almost any dish.
For this you should use firm tofu (not silken) – you'll be able to get it in most supermarkets or your local Asian supermarket.
Step 1. Press It
This is the most important step – you need to remove as much of the water as possible.
Remove the tofu from it's packaging and wrap it in two layers of kitchen roll (ensure it's completely covered) and then place a heavy object on top.
This will make a mess, so place it in the sink or worktop and don't press it near your mobile phone or anything that may get water-damaged.
I like to use a large wooden chopping board to press, but any heavy object will do. Ensure your pressing-device is evenly balanced on the block of the tofu to prevent it from forcing it out of shape.
Press the tofu for 15-20 minutes depending on the level of firmness you prefer.
You can press it for a few hours if you like, I usually don't because it's not convenient and the next step will help to really firm it up.
Step 2. Bake It
Pre-heat the oven to 190c and cut the tofu into cubes or strips and place onto a lightly oiled oven-dish and coat the tofu in oil. Tip: spray it with coconut oil because it's easy, and tasty!
Optional: You can marinade the tofu at this point in your favourite sauce or blend of spices, or you can simply add the baked tofu into your main dish after cooking.
Cook the tofu for 15-20 minutes or until it's golden brown on the outside.
Step 3: Fry It
If you like a bit of extra crisp, then heat a pan with your favourite oil, add some spices and fry the tofu on all sides for 1 minute each. One of my favourite quick 'n' easy spice blends is cumin, paprika and a drop of fresh lime juice (add cayenne pepper for heat).
You can skip step two if you like your tofu a bit softer. Just press it, then cut it into thin slabs and fry each side for 5-6 minutes before cutting it into cubes.
There you go, super-easy and delicious tofu in no time!
I recently visited Bangkok and although I was slightly apprehensive about travelling as a recently converted vegan, Bangkok turned out to be a vegan paradise and the entire week I tried dish after dish of delicious and incredible food.
The list below are my favourite picks that you simply MUST visit if you're in Bangkok. These are vegan only restaurants so you don't need to worry about what's in your food. They're a little pricer than eating street food or visiting the Jay Restaraunts but it's worth it for the piece of mind and the quality of the food is excellent. In saying that, the prices were still ridiculously cheap compared to eating in the UK.
A note on Jay Restaurants: these are buddhist restaurants that serve accidently vegan dishes and are scattered through the city.
I only visited one was severely disapointed. The meal cost £1.20 for one dish, but it lacked flavour, the service was awful and the restaraunt was a little run down. I'm not suggesting that all Jay restaurants are like this, but the places I'm about to mention are in a league of their own and more of a gourmet experience.
1. Veganerie Concept
The Veganarie is a bakery and cafe-style restaurant in Sukhumvit and was without a doubt, my favourite spot to eat in Bangkok. It blew my mind every time!
They serve a selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner favourites – all completely vegan. From waffles and pizza to most desserts, cakes and buns.
The food here is so like the real thing, it's hard to believe that it's actually vegan. My favourite dishes were:
Vegan Pulled Pork Burger
BBQ Pulled Pork Burger (made from mushrooms and served with home-made fries, coleslaw and mayo. Simply amazing, the texture and flavour was just like eating the real thing.
Pizza: You can order a small gourmet pizza (or several) as a main or as a side. It's topped with vegan sausage and is exploding with flavour on top of a rich, Italian tomato sauce.
Vegan Banoffee Waffles
Banoffee Waffles: probably the best thing about the Veganerie is the desserts. You can indulge in plenty of sweet favourites. The banoffee waffles were my favourite. Tip: order them with coconut ice cream ❤️
Vegan Chicken Waffles
The actual restaurant itself is beautiful and is one of the few places I visited that reflected a high-end western restaurant, they have lots of cool vegan decor – like their wall of vegan hashtags and a giant map where you can pin where in the world you're from.
The staff are super friendly and it's obvious their deeply passionate about veganism and their food.
Price: Around £6-8 for for 2-3 courses.
How to get there: Take the BTS Sky Train to Phrom Phong and walk through Benjasiri Park (it's a lovely walk, especially in the evening when the locals are out playing sports).
2. May Veggie Home
I ate here almost every day, they have a wide range of dishes available on the menu so it's difficult to get bored. From curries, stir fries and appetisers to mock-meat dishes.
Tofu & Cashew Stir Fry
My favourite was the tofu and cashew stir fry with brown rice. If you fancy a side, order the vietamnise spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce or the bacon wrapped mushrooms.
Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Vegan Bacon and Mushroom Rolls
Fried Tofu with Sweet & Sour Dipping Sauce
They also have a bakery in store where you can order desserts, buns and cakes to eat in or take away. I only tried their ice cream, which was the first time I've tried ice cream since going vegan and it definitely didn't disappoint.
Other notable dishes were the Panang and Massaman curry (you'll get to try Thai basil, which is incredible).
The restaurant is very peaceful inside and the staff are really polite and friendly.
Prices are around £3 per course.
How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to ASOK and it's 2 minute walk down Ratchadaphisek Road.
3. Raw Food Bliss
I always had it in mind that eating raw vegan food would be plain and boring and wow, was I wrong! I decided to open my mind to raw and visited Raw Food Bliss at the Rasayana Retreat and it was one of my favourite food experiences to date.
Raw Vegetable Spring Rolls
Raw Eggplant Lasagne
I had the vegetable sushi rolls to start and the eggplant lasagna for my main – incredible. The best thing about this dish, was that it actually had a meaty flavour to it! It may sound strange to eat a raw lasnage, but this masterpiece was exploding with flavours.
The best was yet to come, as I still had to try the banoffee pie and it was hands-down the single best dessert I've ever tried – a delicious bed of fresh bananas topped with cocoa and sweet cashew cream. It's worth coming here just for this! I'll definitely be adding this to my list of things to learn to cook.
Raw Banoffee Pie
The cafe is located outside at the Rasayana Retreat in a very quiet and peaceful area of Bangkok surrounded by trees.
How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to Phrom Phong and it's a ten minute walk along Soi Saeng Mukda.
Prices are around £3-4 per course.
4. Banana Family Park
This is a hidden gem that I accidently discovered while watching an unrelated Youtube video. The Banana Family Park (or Baan Suan Pi) is a small food course serving only vegan food. I only got to try one of the restaraunts, but it was so good I went back for another two courses right after my first one!
The first dish was a vegan omelette – made from rice paper and filled with delicious veggies and tofu). It's another dish on my list of things to learn!
Tofu Satay Skewers
Tofu Spring Rolls
After that I tried the Tofu satay skewers, cooked in a rich sauce and the tofu stuffed spring rolls. The whole thing was absolutely delishious. My only regret was not going back for more!
Prices are only 35 baht (70p) per plate and you get a free bowl of vegetable soup.
How to get there: Take the BTS Skytrain to Ari and it's a 3 minute walk. The foodcourt is pretty well hidden from the street view, keep an eye out for a small alleyway on your right with a cafe and people sitting at tables in the alley – walk past it and you'll find the foodcourt inside.
Ethos is cozy little vegan restauarnt located near Khaosan Road – you can sit on the floor and eat Japaneese style or sit at one of the tables. They have a huge menu of vegan dishes – mostly asian and thai style. I had the coconut curry and it didn't disappoint.
Prices are around £2-3 per course.
How to get there: take the BTS Skytrain to Siam and grab a taxi to Khaosan Road (about 30 minutes – £2). Alternatively you can take the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin and take a water taxi along the canal.
There are a few other vegan restaurants beside Ethos that I unfortunately didn't get to try, like Mango and May Veggie Home, so give them a go!