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This Can't Be Tofu!: 75 Recipes to Cook Something You Never Thought You Would--and Love Every Bite Paperback – Illustrated, April 18, 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Many of us like the idea of tofu better than the reality, and few of us know how to cook with it. Chef Deborah Madison's This Can't Be Tofu addresses such qualms, offering 75 recipes for this healthful (high in protein and low in salt, fat, and calories) food. Madison knows that tofu can be delicious, and provides recipes for a wide range of dishes that glorify its fresh milky taste and yielding texture--or that use it to make other foods (like mayonnaise) better for us. Beginning with an introduction to tofu varieties, Madison then discusses tofu purchasing and basic preparation techniques such as draining and pressing, which make tofu a useful flavor medium. Quick and easy tofu recipes like Seared Tofu with Chives and Peppers follow, along with formulas for tofu-based appetizers, salads, soups, stir-fries, curries, and pasta, among other fare. Particularly winning recipes include Spring Rolls with Shredded Cabbage, Mushrooms, and Tofu; Red Pepper and Miso Soup with Tofu and Black Sesame; and Sautéed Asparagus with Curried Tofu and Tomatoes. Madison also provides breakfast recipes like Scrambled Tofu with Herbs and Cheese (and ones in which tofu takes the place--without imitation--of sausages), plus a group of tofu sweets, including shakes and smoothies. A short section on accompaniments, such as Sweet Potatoes Baked with Oranges, concludes this comprehensive introduction to an ancient food that Madison makes modern and newly delicious. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its exuberant hide-and-seek title, this cookbook features many more recipes using tofu alongside the Asian flavors with which it mixes so well (Napa Cabbage Leaves with Gingered tofu and Peanut Mince, Miso Soup with Silken tofu) than it does recipes that attempt to disguise the white menace (Curried "Chicken" Salad, Smoked Tofu with Barbecue Sauce). Madison, who succeeded at covering much ground in the hefty Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, proves equally adept at focusing on a single subject. Her introductory material clearly explains the difference between water-packed and silken tofu and their respective uses. She also dispels the myth that marinating tofu infuses it with flavor, noting that the marinade remains on the surface. Most recipes are vegetarian, although Madison also includes Poached Salmon and Potato Salad with Fresh Herb Sauce and other non-vegetarian dishes, incorporating tofu into "regular" meals that are sure to tempt the tofu-timid. A brief chapter on breakfast breakfasts offers Scrambled Eggs with Spicy Red "Sausage" in Tortillas and a tofu-egg combination called Migas. If all else fails, a chapter on desserts suggests a Peach-Almond Smoothie and an Iced Coffee Frappe, which should have tofu-phobes sipping completely unaware. This book sets a modest goal and fulfills it grandly. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (April 18, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767904192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767904193
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deborah Madison is the author of nine cookbooks and countless articles on food, cooking, and farming. Currently she blogs for Gourmet and Culinate.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Brilliant book. I was one of the people described in the introductory anecdote...I always buy tofu, feeling hopeful and virtuous. And I always have rotton tofu ready to throw away. Eat the stuff? I didn't think so. So this comes at a great time when many of us really are trying to eat more healthfully. So far I have tried the mango smoothie made with silken tofu - tastes great and gives energy for hours. I also tried the tofu and asparagus with lemongrass rub - tasty! Like all of Deborah Madison's books, the reading is delicious....I consider her books take-to-bed material. There is a lot to learn about the types and handling of tofu, and Ms. Madison explains it with clear simplicity. The book calls for a trip to the oriental market - there is an eastern slant to many of the recipes. It looks like the recipes will provide an education in Thai and Indian cooking! The next challenge will be to start serving tofu regularly to my meat and potatoes family. These recipes look so robust and flavorful - I can't wait to see if they notice that they are eating tofu.
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By A Customer on August 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have been eating and loving tofu for 25 years and eagerly look for new and different ways of using it. I have a dairy allergy and first came upon tofu as an excellent dairy and egg substitute for baking. I had high hopes for this new cookbook "This Can't Be Tofu" because all the reveiws I read here praised it. Sadly I was very disappointed. While the small section on the various types and firmnesses of tofu is helpful, and the soup section is the best and most healthful section in the book, the majority of the recipes call for deep or shallow frying, and a few for sauteing. There are recipes for smoothies but they also call for high fat and sugar additions. Tofu is a high fat food, and while I'm not a fat fanatic, I find there are more pleasing ways to use the product than frying it and adding lots of salt through the various fish and soy sauces. For an ocassional meal rather than daily meal planning, it might add variety, but there are better tofu cookbooks out there. For example, Louise Hagler's "Tofu Cookery" is a good classic guide for a wide variety of uses, especially for newcomers to tofu. Through using Hagler's book I found I didn't need to add all the oil she usually calls for in her recipes - you can substitute water or other appropriate liquids, or most times nothing at all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading a review in the San Francisco Chronicle. It is fabulous! I've made 4 of the recipes and I've only had it for a week. Each one has been so good I just can't wait to try the next one. I'm vegetarian but my husband isn't and I've always wanted to use tofu but had no idea how to make it appealing to him. So far he's loved everything I've made from this book and so have I. Thank you Deborah.
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By A Customer on November 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a great primer for cooking tofu. She starts with a clear and informative section on different types of tofu, as well as basic preparations that highlight techniques, not ingredients: seared, braised, broiled, grilled, etc. The rest of the book has very yummy tofu recipies for mostly main course preparations. It is the first tofu cookbook I've come across with original (as in not traditional asian dishes like ma po tofu) recipes that are both extremely tasty and, for the most part, do not try to "hide" the tofu in cheesecakes and the like.
As for the comment that this book requires a lot of unusual ingredients, I think that depends on the cook. If your regular repertoire leans toward traditional american food, yes you will need many new ingredients. However, if you cook asian food with any regularity, you should already have soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, etc. on hand, and be fairly comfortable using fresh ingredients like ginger and scallions. If your tastes lean toward Southeast asian cuisine, you'll probably have things like coconut milk and curry pastes. If your tastes lean toward Indian cuisine, try the dishes that use cardamon, coriander, and turmeric. If your tastes lean toward Chinese, you won't need much beyond the basic list I mentioned above (except for fresh ingredients, of course).
Regarding the comment on the preponderance of dishes that fry the tofu, I only find this to be the case in the section on appetizers. It was not prevalent in the sections on soups, salads/sandwiches, curries/braises, pasta/noodles. The sections on stir-fries/sautes does call for browing the tofu in a bit of oil at the beginning in quite a few dishes, but this is very similar to browning the meat in a regular stir-fry.
Bottom line: the recipes in this book taste great. For that reason, it gets five stars in my kitchen.
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Format: Paperback
"This can't be tofu!" were the words that jumped out of my mouth after many first-hand chomps of tofu testing. "This? This can't be tofu." I was there when Deborah built this book and the recipes therein. I'm her husband.
Loved the curried dishes and the mushroom tortellini, especially. Always liked tofu but had few ideas on the variety of ways to give it flavors and textures. My approach was to burn it, i.e. grill it with a little barbeque sauce. Well, Deborah made the tofu go a little further down South. And I know, being from Little Rock.
When Deborah is on the road, I can effortless empty the refrigerator of stockpiles of tofu from our local market.
Also liked it that Deborah wrote a few non-vegetarian recipes such as "Tofu with Cumin Laced Spinach and Shrimp," and one of Deborah's favorites (she orders it whenever it appears on a menu) i.e. cod, as in "Stir-fried Spicy Tofu and Cod with Scallions and Peanuts."
As her husband I'm probably biased, but I really like these recipes. A lot.
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