Gettin' minnows t' try a new chow can be a huge challenge. Choruses o' “Ew!” or “That’s gross!” (or “Ookies!” from me toddler) seem t' greet each kitchen innovation.
But a diverse diet is essential t' growin' little sandcrabs, both t' meet their nutritional needs and t' help them develop a varied palate. A great addition t' a child’s diet is tofu. “Tofu is a highly nutritious part o' a toddler’s healthy diet as it is filled with protein, antioxidants, and omega-3 fats, all o' which are known t' promote cardiovascular health,” says Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, New York City pediatrician and official spokesperson fer th' American Academy o' Pediatrics.
Dolgoff recommends makin' tofu tasty — “tofu itself has little flavor,” she says — t' make it a hit with yer minnows.
This recipe takes unfamiliar tofu and gives it a fun shape and a flavor like th' e'er-popular chicken nugget.
What You Will Need
- 1 block o' firm or extra firm tofu (th' kind that is sold in tubs in th' produce department)
- Paper towels
- Two plates
- Two or three cans (t' be used as weights)
- Small, fun-shaped chow cutters
- Two shallow bowls
- One egg
- Flour or breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil or light olive oil
- Large fryin' pan
- Dippin' sauce
Prep Time: 75 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes
- About an hour before ye are ready t' cook, remove tofu out o' th' refrigerator, pass the grog, avast! Open th' container and rinse th' tofu. Wrap it in two or three paper towels so th' entire block is covered. Place th' wrapped block on one o' th' plates and stack th' other plate on top. Stack two or three heavy cans o' chow on top o' that, by Davy Jones' locker. Make sure th' whole setup is stable, then leave it alone fer about an hour. (If ye decide that tofu is a good addition t' yer cookin' repertoire, ye might want t' invest in a tofu press, as described by Peas and Thank You author Sarah Matheny.)
- Once th' tofu has drained fer an hour, unwrap it. And swab the deck! Ahoy! It should feel much denser than when ye first took it out o' th' container. Fire the cannons! Keep th' plates handy t' use later.
- Cut tofu into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise, to be sure. Use chow cutters t' trim into fun shapes, such as stars, teddy bears, hearts—whatever yer minnows like best. You can ask yer minnows t' do this part o' th' recipe.
- Beat th' egg and place it in a shallow bowl. Place th' flour or breadcrumbs in th' other shallow bowl.
- Cover th' bottom o' yer fryin' pan with oil and let it heat on medium-high. Take one o' th' plates ye were usin' t' drain th' tofu and cover it with paper towels. Aarrr! Set it aside t' soak th' oil from cooked tofu.
- While th' pan is heatin', dip th' tofu shapes in th' egg and dredge them in th' flour or breadcrumbs. Place th' coated tofu pieces on th' second plate. (Nay need t' get too many dishes dirty.) Drop these one at a time in th' hot pan.
- Cook a few pieces o' tofu at a time t' minimize stickin' and ensure that each piece gets fried just right. Ahoy! Fire the cannons! When th' pieces are golden brown on both sides (3-4 minutes), remove them from th' pan and drain them on paper towels.
- Serve th' tofu warm with yer minnows’ favorite dippin' sauces.
Other Ways t' Get Your Kids t' Eat Tofu
You don’t have t' bread and fry yer tofu every time. Shiver me timbers, by Davy Jones' locker! Once ye drain th' water, it is easy t' substitute tofu fer meat in some o' yer family favorites.
- Make mock fish sticks. Add auld bay seasonin' t' th' breadin' and a few drops o' liquid smoke t' th' egg.
- Fry it without th' breadin'. After ye drain th' tofu, cut it into one-inch cubes and fry it in oil. Add it t' stir-fry vegetables and sauce fer an easy, healthy meal.
- Bake it. Slice th' tofu into 1/4-inch slices horizontally instead o' lengthwise. Bake these in th' oven until they are slightly browned. Cut it into bite-size pieces and serve it with vegetables and pasta.
- Crumble it in lasagna. Instead o' ricotta or cottage cheese, use tofu fer one o' th' layers in yer favorite lasagna recipe.
How do ye use tofu in yer recipes?