I bought tofu but don’t have the least idea how to cook it. I looked for tofu recipes on your site & found unfamiliar ingredients – Braggs? Hing? Help!!
We have a Barbarito’s restaurant in our area which serves fresh foods such as wraps, salad etc., made to order. Tofu is on their menu and I finally made the leap.
I have since bought my first Tofu for home cooking, but don’t have the least idea what to do with it. I looked for tofu recipes  on your site, and found ingredients with which I am not familiar. What is Braggs…Braggs what?…a sauce, a spice, a marinade? How is it used? What is Hing? Help!! – C.S.
Savvy Vegetarian Advice:
Sorry! I need to be more specific about ingredients. What I really need to do is make an index of descriptions for cooking ingredients. Then I can link to it whenever I mention something unfamiliar to most people. I’ll put that on the list.
Braggs is Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, a salty high protein soy bean extract which isn’t fermented like soy sauce. It can be used interchangeably with soy sauce, as a marinade or a salty flavoring for any food. It’s sold in natural food stores, and sometimes you can find it in the natural food aisle of regular grocery stores. There’s no need to buy it especially for a specific recipe. Just use soy sauce.
Hing is also called asefetida. It’s an Indian spice, quite strong and smelly. It helps to reduce gas in cooking with beans and lentils. It’s also a garlic substitute. I didn’t use garlic in cooking much until recently, so often added hing. Now I’m fond of garlic, but use hing for Indian recipes if its listed in the ingredients.
Use just a tiny pinch of hing, and keep it tightly sealed so all your spices and your whole kitchen don’t smell like hing! I keep mine in a sealed plastic bag in a tightly sealed jar.
You can find hing or asefetida in the spice section of some grocery stores or natural food stores, and you can buy it at Indian groceries. If you can’t find it, don’t fret, just leave it out, or use a garlic clove.
One of the best ways to use tofu if you’re not used to it is in a familiar food with plenty of taste. E. G. Tofu burgers , or tofu stir fry , or lasagna . Firm or extra firm tofu is best for these recipes. If you bought soft tofu, press it between paper towels or an old dishtowel, with something heavy on top, to get out the excess water.
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian