When you think about it, there are many, many different ways that people can substitute different ingredients in their meals.
Some people choose to substitute gluten-filled foods with gluten-free alternatives, whether this is due to a preference or a medical condition. Other people may find that they prefer white rice over brown rice.
No matter what your reasons are, if you do not follow a standard diet, then there’s a very good chance that you will end up needing to replace ingredients in your food with alternatives. The most prominent example of this is tofu.
When people choose to go with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, tofu becomes one of the best meat replacements on the market. You can choose a texture that fits the meat you are replacing, you can season and flavor the tofu accordingly, and you can alter your recipe so that you can eat your favorite dish without having to give it another thought.
However, if you are new to the idea of substituting meats with tofu, you may not know what to do. You may not know how to choose an appropriate tofu for the dish you are working with. You may not even know which dishes benefit from tofu and which dishes benefit from other vegetable alternatives.
To make the most out of a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, it will be important for you to learn these things. A good place to start is learning how to work with tofu curry. Curry is a flavorful enough dish that even if you don’t get the tofu right the first time, you won’t have to worry about a ruined dish. Instead, you can work on experimenting with your tofu to create the dishes that you have always wanted to have.
Why Should You Consider Using Tofu in Your Curry?
First things first, you will want to get a good grasp on why you should choose tofu in particular when it comes to curries. After all, there are plenty of other plant-based “meats” out there, so what makes tofu beneficial for curry dishes? There are several reasons for this. For one, tofu is excellent at absorbing flavor, often being much better than other plant-based alternatives.
For dishes with rich sauces, such as curry, this is going to be an important factor. Of course, you can’t just put any piece of tofu into a curry dish and expect it to work out well. When replacing meats with tofu, you will need to pay close attention to texture and whether or not you should lightly fry the tofu. For many chicken dishes, people find that lightly frying the tofu can make the texture a bit crispier on the outside, much like chicken would be.
Tofu is one of the most versatile meat alternatives that you can find, and depending on where you are getting your tofu, then it can also be one of the easiest alternatives to get as well. Tofu is a perfect vegetarian alternative, although people who are choosing to go on a vegan diet will need to pay close attention to ingredient lists.
Some tofu relies on coconut milk, while others may rely on typical dairy milk. If you are working on a vegan diet, it is important for you to take notice of the ingredients to ensure that you adhere to your diet. Aside from the milk, there won’t be much else to look for in your tofu.
Finding the Right Curry for Your Tofu
If you are not used to working with curry, tofu, or both, then you may not know which type of curry is going to go with tofu the best. You may not even be aware that there are three main categories of curry to begin with.
The main curry categories are red, green, and yellow curries. Each curry type gets its name from its color, which commonly comes from the plants that are used to season that particular type of curry. With this being said, some types of curry go better with tofu’s natural texture and flavor than others. For example, you very rarely see green curry with tofu, although you can certainly make this if you wanted to.
The most common type of curry you will see with tofu in it is going to be red curry. Red curry gets its coloring from red chilies and it is commonly paired with coconut flavors. Considering the fact that many types of tofu, especially the vegan-friendly ones, are made with coconut milk, this will inherently match with the red curry’s flavor profile.
It is also easier to substitute coconut milk for regular milk in red curry, further allowing you to tailor the dish to your needs while keeping the ingredients proper and matching. If red curry isn’t your style, you can also consider relying on another curry flavor. Simply keep in mind that the flavors may not mesh as well as they do with red curry.
Finding the Right Tofu for Your Curry
Now that you know what type of curry you will be working with, you will want to think about what kind of tofu you want to use as well. Some types of tofu will provide a better texture that is more reminiscent of chicken. Other types of tofu will be far too tender to be good with the heavy curry sauce.
Most people will recommend that you use a firm type of tofu, although many more people suggest that you go for an extra-firm variant of tofu. This type of tofu is going to replace the dense chicken much more easily than other types of tofu, as its firm texture will allow it to hold its shape while still absorbing the curry sauce.
Keep in mind that if you are going with a vegan diet, you will need to be much more careful with your tofu selection. Many types of tofu will use milk as a way to create the tofu block, and for vegan diets, this is unacceptable. With enough searching, you will easily be able to find types of tofu that specifically use vegan-friendly ingredients, such as coconut milk, instead of traditional dairy milk. This is one of the reasons why using tofu is often one of the best meat alternatives, as it is one of the most accessible to people who have dietary restrictions.
Popular Combinations and Recipes
Now that you know a little bit more about working with tofu and curry combined, you should begin looking at some of the popular recipes and combinations. This will help you get a good taste for what is out there, what goes well with tofu, and what ingredients you should be looking for when you go to the store.
One thing to keep in mind, especially with premade curry sauces, is that many of them contain fish or shrimp in them. If you are going with a vegan diet, you may need to do some more thorough searching to find the appropriate curry for your needs.
With that being said, some people find that yellow curry actually goes quite well with tofu. Yellow curry is made primarily from turmeric, which is also what turns it the iconic yellow that earned it its name. Tofu and turmeric can pair nicely, so long as you have a cool and comfortable side dish to eat alongside this warm meal.
You can also consider aiming for a more cilantro-heavy type of curry that doesn’t quite reach the level of being green curry, but it certainly has more than most curries would. Many people will add nuts, peppers, and even some carrots to their curry to really make the dish stand out.