Tofu like ground beef
This super good Raising Kids recipe will help you make tofu taste like ground beef. So next time you're making tacos for your fam, make them for the vegan in you as well!
It all started when my daughter went vegetarian on us. We're used to cooking many beans and lentils and chickpeas 'n stuff (LOVE veggie dishes!) but when she wanted tacos, we were "tostada" (that's 'toast' for you). So much experimenting and voila! Tofu like ground beef!
There are a few tricks to cooking with tofu, as we learned... It's super difficult to try and find a proper way of cooking it so it actually has flavour, without dousing it with all kinds of fake sauces and dips, or charring it on the bbq. No no, I was determined to make it right!
This is "Tofu 101":
The first thing you'll have to get is the right tofu: EXTRA FIRM tofu. But even so, it needs to be sliced up, turned upside down, and drained for at least an hour (more time = better consistency).
I slice mine with 1/4" slices (not all the way through) and place it inside a bowl with a clean hand-towel, then cover it with the other side of the hand towel. Then weight it with a heavy bowl. After some time to 'drain' it will end up looking something like this:
After it has drained, take it between your fingers and mush it up to a crumble... yeah, kind of like ground beef texture!
Now you're ready to cook it up!
Heat a medium-sized frying pan with 1/4 Cup of oil (yes, it takes quite a bit, otherwise it will not brown, dry up in consistency, and it will stick to your pan like mad!). When warm, add your crumbled-up tofu and stir, stir, stir until it's all evenly coated with the oil.
(note: we like to use grapeseed oil as it has a high heat point and won't smoke up your whole house)
Once your tofu is slightly browned (it will actually look yellow-ish... DO NOT allow for it to burn!) - about 5-6 minutes, then add the following spices while mixing thoroughly to incorporate them:
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 Tablespoons of paprika (yes, a lot! it's just smoked red pepper so go for it... it's delicious!)
1 teaspoon of ground pepper
1 teaspoon of sea salt (it seems like a lot, but tofu really needs it!)
Turn the heat down to medium-low, and continue stirring to incorporate all the ingredients well... about another 2 minutes.
At this point you will have to decide the right consistency: If you keep going, it will turn crunchy, much like bacon-bits. My daughter has braces so I couldn't let mine go too crunchy...
Then you will add:
1/4 cup of finely diced onion
2 Tablespoons of low-sodium Tamari sauce (it's a gluten-free version of soya sauce; and it's a staple ingredient in our kitchen!)
1 teaspoon of liquid smoke (like this one)
4 black olives, cut up in tiny pieces (optional)
1/4 Cup of dried black currants or raisins (optional)
NOTE again: These last two ingredients (olives and currants/raisins) are optional, but in our South-American cooking it's very customary to use the sweet/tangy/sour combo for making tacos and meat-like fillings... it's SO DELICIOUS, and you won't really end up tasting too much of the sweet dried fruit and the sour olives - trust me on that! It just really helps pull the flavours together!
Combine well, and voila! IT'S ALL DELICIOUSLY DONE!
You can use this tofu-mix-like-ground-beef on Pupusas, rolled like a taco in tortillas, inside our easy gluten-free crepes... it's so good, love it! Please try it and let me know what you think?
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