Tofu “Cheese”

This tofu “cheese” has a consistency resembling cottage cheese, or a little like feta cheese, and is really tasty. It doesn’t taste like cheese, however, which for me is a good thing: I outgrew my cheese addiction about 7 years ago – it took a few vegan years to combat my cravings. Tofu marinated this way can simply be used as a spread like in the photo, but is also great in Greek filo (or phyllo) pie called Spanakopita.

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It is funny how vegetarians keep saying that they could never give up cheese, and that’s why they won’t go vegan; it’s like a smoker stating that s/he could never give up cigarettes. We all know it’s possible with a little willpower, but if the motivation isn’t there, it’s not going to happen. What people mean by saying things like that is that they’re just not interested (enough) in becoming vegan, but phrased in a way that is more socially acceptable. Can’t blame them, I like social acceptance too.

I have accidentally tasted milk products every now and then, and have to say that they no longer taste exactly appealing to me, although I practically grew up on cheese, milk, and yogurt. Now I understand the many Japanese people who think cheese and milk taste weird – they do, compared to our beloved tofu. So, after all this babble, my main point is: I wouldn’t call this tofu cheese when cooking for cheese-eaters, since they would compare it to cheese. And to be honest, I cannot tell whether it resembles cheese or not – I only know that it’s tasty.

So, here’s how I made it:

  • 300 g firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

I first pressed the tofu like I always do; slice it in about 1 cm thick slices, wrap in kitchen towel, and place a light weight on top of the pile. Then I mixed all the marinade ingredients, except oil, in a container, and then squeezed the tofu with my hands in the same container so it became grainy.

Now, I mushed the tofu and the spices for a few minutes until they were incorporated, squeezing the mixture between my fingers to make it smooth. Then I mixed in the oil with a fork, adjusted the saltiness, covered the container with a lid, and refrigerated overnight.

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This recipe could be varied indefinitely: lemon juice instead of lime juice, olive oil instead of canola, fresh herbs instead of (or in addition to) garlic, or with an addition of different peppers. Brown rice wine vinegar is pretty essential, since it gives a sort of fermented taste to the tofu, but other types of wine vinegar might work as well.

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