Here's Why A Redditor's First Experience With Tofu Was A Total Disaster

Tofu is an excellent source of protein for vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike. The soy milk-based ingredient originated thousands of years ago in China and is now enjoyed by many cultures worldwide, per the SoyInfo Center. With endless preparation methods, tofu is typically sold firm, extra firm, or silken. Silken tofu is often enjoyed uncooked and topped with chili oil and green onions, while firm tofu makes for a great meat substitute. Tofu can be fried, grilled, baked, roasted, and even made into an egg-like scramble for breakfast sandwiches and fried rice.

Not only is tofu delicious and versatile, but it's also teeming with health benefits. According to Healthline, tofu is rich in protein, essential amino acids, and several vitamins and minerals, and it may lower consumers' risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. However, especially for someone not accustomed to the flavor and texture of the ingredient, tofu can be bland and unappetizing if it's not prepared correctly — as one Redditor learned the hard way.

This person's experience may remind you to check your tofu's expiration date

Proving that working with a new ingredient usually requires practice, one tofu rookie took to the subreddit r/EatCheapAndHealthy to share their disappointing experience with the plant-based protein, and hundreds of tofu aficionados came bearing advice.

In an attempt to eat less meat, an initiative that the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says helps combat climate change, the hungry Redditor needed advice on how to better prepare tofu. The user detailed in their caption that the smell of their store-bought tofu left them with a headache and even said that "the taste was awful." Right off the bat, commenters suspected that the defeated chef had cooked an expired package of tofu. One explained, "Fresh tofu should smell clean. It smells kind of green to me and usually takes on the flavor of whatever it's cooked with. I would try a different brand." 

Other users speculated that the OP's failed tofu dish had something to do with not properly draining it. MasterClass says that pressing the excess moisture out of tofu is essential for getting a crispy finish during the cooking process. Other users encouraged the hopeful chef to freeze the tofu before draining it for a less spongy texture. Finally, many of the 300+ comments offered their favorite ways to cook different types of tofu, ranging from marinated and grilled to crumbled and pan-fried like taco meat.