You Must Add Tofu to Your Meatballs

Are you tired of tight meatballs? Despite your attempts to roll up well-blended but tender meatballs, do you end up with super-rubber balls every time? Everything is about to change and it starts with the mix. To make the mixture crumbly, use tofu.

Tough meatballs result from over-mixing and too much binder. Your first order of business should be casual as you mix. This is why most cooks recommend using your hands instead of a spoon and avoiding food processors. After that, it comes down to reducing the amount of binder ingredients in your mix (like eggs and breadcrumbs) or adding meat-breaking elements – and tofu is a great option for the latter. When proteins in meat are cooked , they compact and squeeze out moisture, which can lead to dryness. The tofu crumbs will not only break down the astringent proteins in your mixture, but they will also add moisture to keep the meatballs from getting dry during cooking.

Whether you’re worried about the tofu getting bland or the meatball mixture turning white, there’s an easy fix for both situations. Before preparing a large meat mixture, prepare the required amount of tofu by marinating it. I use about three or four ounces of extra firm tofu for every pound of meat. But before marinating, you need to remove moisture. Line a colander, sieve, or bowl with several layers of paper towels, break up the tofu into pea-sized pieces, and place them on the paper towel. Cover the crumbs with a large amount of paper towel and press down to remove moisture. In a small bowl, mix two tablespoons of soy sauce with a couple of drops of Worcestershire sauce and add dried tofu. Throw to cover. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes or up to several hours; the tofu will become fragrant and take on a nice meaty brown color. When you’re ready to collect all of the mixture, you can use a slotted spoon to skim the tofu out of the marinade, although most of the moisture will be absorbed (and I usually just add the remaining juice to the meatball mixture). . Mix lightly, shape into meatballs and cook as usual.

Other optional ingredients such as chopped pine nuts , finely chopped onions, or peppers provide similar benefits, but I have found that crumbling tofu over and over again provides the best texture. Blend it in with a light touch while mixing and you’ll never have to break another meatball again.

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