Plated Recommends: Soyboy Smoked Tofu
More often than not, tofu in America feels like a bland meat substitute. It often comes as a neutral block that is difficult to imbue with flavor. Many vegetarian cooks have learned how to work with this sometimes difficult ingredient, but there is a producer who’s fought to make it better right out of the package. Soyboy, a company based in Rochester, New York, has deeply considered the process of flavoring and preparing tofu for almost forty years, and we’ve particularly fallen in love with their smoked tofu.
When Soyboy founders Andrew Schecter and Norman Holland started making smoked tofu about twenty years ago, they aimed to recreate a flavor that former meat and dairy eaters missed.
“We wanted to give them the experience of foods they used to love with the health benefits of tofu,” explained Schecter in an interview with The Dish.
So they engineered a tofu that resembles a smoked cheese. It’s firmer and chewier than most tofus because they add more beans to their product. (Americans tend to prefer a firmer tofu with a heavier body, while the Japanese favor a light almost custard-like texture.) And rather than following the traditional smoking method—suspending the tofu over an open fire—they marinate 5-ounce cakes in cool soaking tanks with apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, and a specially sourced hickory liquid smoke. If the term “liquid smoke” unnerves you, be at ease. It’s generated from the same natural process as traditional smoking, except that rather than directly infusing the product, the facility collects the smoke from the chips and lets it condense, just like you would steam coming off a teapot.
Soyboy marinates the tofu cakes for several days and then bakes them to enhance the taste even further. “It has incredible depth of flavor,” says Plated Chef Elana Karp, “and it’s ideal for putting in sandwiches, salads, and slaws.” Like Plated’s Asian Cabbage Salad with Smoked Tofu and Sesame Peanut Dressing shipping this July.
To add to this tofu’s general awesomeness, it’s totally vegan and GMO free. It’s also gluten-free and Certified Organic. Soyboy may have started back in 1976, but it exemplifies a progressive mindset about healthy food that we admire and love to share.
Soyboy products are available at most natural food store or natural food sections of grocery stores.
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