June 20, 2007 8:52 PM   Subscribe

Tastier tofu courtesy of Shiok Food, a fantastic Thai cooking blog run by chef and restauranteur madman.
posted by klangklangston (29 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Looking through the archives, but no word yet on whether he covers my holy grail of hard-to-perfect Thai dishes, a spicy sweet-corn soup made by the folks at Lemongrass in Rochester, NY.
posted by klangklangston at 8:54 PM on June 20, 2007

Thanks - tofu is king!
posted by item at 9:05 PM on June 20, 2007

that's it? that is the whole post? a three year old answer to crumbly stir fry tofu?
posted by caddis at 9:11 PM on June 20, 2007

I'm prejudiced because I've known madhu online for years, but having witnessed his transformation from web geek to full time chef and then trying out some of his recipes, I gotta say, mad props to Shiok.

Ask to see his photo of him and a monkey sometime.
posted by afflatus at 9:47 PM on June 20, 2007

Yikes! Thanks, dude, though my objective side says this isn't worthy of an FPP. ;)
posted by madman at 10:38 PM on June 20, 2007

And afflatus, for the last time, it was a damn chimpanzee, not a monkey!
posted by madman at 10:41 PM on June 20, 2007

"that's it? that is the whole post? a three year old answer to crumbly stir fry tofu?"

The rest of the blog is pretty good too. You can find it by following the second link. It's where it says "Shiok Food."
posted by klangklangston at 10:55 PM on June 20, 2007

No, this is a good post. Crumbly tofu is a widespread and pernicious problem that must be addressed.

In my case even extra-firm tofu doesn't seem to cook as tough as I want, but I suspect most of the cases where I get tofu any firmer in restaurants it's been prepared in some other way. An acquaintance from a restaurant-owning family suggested shocking it in water, but I've never otherwise heard of that or tried it yet.
posted by abcde at 11:59 PM on June 20, 2007

The pictures on the food blog are amazing, if you're into that sort of thing. I'm going to try the Ma Po Tofu recipe tomorrow night.
posted by turing_test at 12:13 AM on June 21, 2007

that's it? that is the whole post? a three year old answer to crumbly stir fry tofu?

True. But it's still useful, interesting information (which is more than can be said for many posts) and for the first time, the difference between pressed and silken tofu is clear to me.
posted by rhymer at 1:20 AM on June 21, 2007

madman: do a thai green curry blog post and save me from a life of insufficient tang!

anyone reading this: if you love thai food, please please make or at least order the easiest and most ambrosial dessert ever devised: Mango and Sticky Rice (Kow Neuw Mamuang). Infinitely more experiential than it sounds. /salivating evangelism
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:26 AM on June 21, 2007

This is good.
posted by Mocata at 3:14 AM on June 21, 2007

He's right, if you haven't had frozen tofu (and I think a lot of people haven't even heard of it) you gotta try it. I love the texture.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:34 AM on June 21, 2007

Yeah, I only recently learned about the frozen-tofu trick, and it's fantastic. It's a great way to counter people's constant assertions that tofu's consistency is gross and mucouslike. I like this FPP.
posted by Greg Nog at 4:21 AM on June 21, 2007

I never realized that people had so much trouble cooking with tofu. I'm far from a great chef-- hells, I barely qualify as an amateur-- but I use tofu in stir-fries regularly. Here's my method: Buy the firm or extra-firm stuff, depending on your liking (I prefer firm; extra-firm is a bit too dry and cakey/crumbly for my tastes). Cut it into half-inch slices. Pour soy sauce into a saucer, and soak each slice of tofu in the soy sauce. Get both sides good and saturated, like you're making French toast. Set the soy-sauce-soaked tofu aside, make the rest of your stir-fry, and add the tofu at the end just to bring it up to temperature. Don't stir too vigorously, because it can break up. It comes out perfect.

NB: I also like to eat raw tofu with soy sauce, green onions and dried bonito shavings. That's a recipe I picked up in Japan. Add some fresh ginger if you dig that sort of thing.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:36 AM on June 21, 2007

I've been following this fantastic Thai Laos Food Blog since April of last year and this post is an excellent spot to pass on something really authentic. Enjoy!
posted by furtive at 6:47 AM on June 21, 2007

For anyone who thinks "that's it?", try the frozen tofu trick half way down the page. This post is worth it for that one alone.

It's great and amazing to be reminded of the diversity of the members here sometimes. Thanks for this kk, and thanks too to madman!
posted by bonehead at 6:47 AM on June 21, 2007

Me and the wife *adore* Shiok. It's pretty much become our automatic choice for getaway dinners. Mad props indeed, madman.
posted by stumbling at 7:21 AM on June 21, 2007

I have lately developed a love for tofu. I slice extra firm tofu in quarter inch slices, marinate it in the same type of marinade I'd make for chicken then grill it on a hot grill for 5-6 minutes a side. Makes it nice and crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside and it tastes as good as whatever you marinate it in.
I'll have to try freezing it.
posted by Floydd at 7:24 AM on June 21, 2007

I usually take super firm Wildwood tofu, make 1/2" cubes, press them in a plate of sesame seeds and fry them on 2 or three sides in sesame oil. It takes a while till they're crisped evenly. I let them cook while I stir-fry whatever else, and add them in last. Never a crumble.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:03 AM on June 21, 2007

Thanks, folks. I have two tofu recipes on the blog, here and here, in case you're interested.

Suggestions for future blog entries will be gratefully accepted. I've been too lazy for the past year or so. Ambrosia Voyeur, green curry is darn easy if you're using ready made curry paste. I like to pound my own, however. :)
posted by madman at 9:19 AM on June 21, 2007

Yeah, one of the best things that I did in Thailand was take a cooking course. Of course, some techniques had to be adapted once I got back home (learning to make Phad Thai in a giant wok over a huge propane jet meant that I could probably do it in a commercial kitchen, but not so well at home). But learning to pound green curry (which is damned easy, frankly) has been really helpful.

And, madman, like I mentioned, I'm still trying to figure out the sweet corn soup thing. I know that the main ingredients are sweet corn, coconut milk, onions and chili peppers, but I can't seem to get it away from tasting way too sweet and the texture gets all weird.

There was also a fantastic black mushroom, onion and weird beans thing that I don't know if I can even get the ingredients for. Most of my time was in Chaing Mai, and apparently they have a different cuisine up there... But you don't happen to know what those mushrooms were, or whether I should be able to get them in states, do you? I shoulda asked... (I also need to find a place that sells Thai whiskey...)
posted by klangklangston at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2007

Yeah, I think Mae Ploy's long shelf life results in some fading. It's very spicy but the kaffir and lemongrass aren't there. I can pound that part at least.

klang: This should be your first stop. There's one in Van Nuys. 99 Ranch is on my list of the top ten things that rule about the west coast.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:44 PM on June 21, 2007

Heh. Madman, we just learned from yesterday's post about Cooking Master Boy that the secret to Fantastic Mapo Tofu is replacing the meat with soy beans. It gives the dish the elusive 6th Flavor, which is Texture. It looks like your minced fried tofu does the same. You could be the next Chairman of the Central Cooking Association!
posted by team lowkey at 3:31 PM on June 21, 2007

Tofu is a food substitute.
posted by neuron at 3:40 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

...and neuron is a substitute for a healthy, well-rounded, interesting human.

posted by item at 4:31 PM on June 21, 2007

sorry - that was a bit harsh, considering your current 'overload' status. we'll all be more considerate towards your special food needs in the future. chili's baby back ribs for all, everyone - they're on me!
posted by item at 4:36 PM on June 21, 2007

posted by rxrfrx at 7:06 PM on June 21, 2007

I must be lucky as I can buy good tofu either raw or pre-fried. The fried stuff is golden on the outside and soft in the middle.

A frew years ago i went to my favourite Japanese restuarant and let the waitress choose my order, without remembering to tell her that I was vegan. She produced a dish that I hadn't had before, which was a suprise because at the time I was eating there on a weekly basis.
About half way through the dish I realised that the bland, stringy, tasteless tofu on the plate was actually chicken, which would explain why I had not tried it before. I finished the plate, thinking 'I've started, so I'll finish'. In this case, tofu certainly tasted better and had better mouth feel than chicken.
posted by asok at 1:36 AM on June 22, 2007

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