I'm about to take an extended camping trip, and I'd love to be able to make some decent tofu. (I'm mostly vegetarian, and I'm definitely going to be craving protein.) My usual methods at home are baking and pan-frying in cast iron; I like the browned outside and tougher texture. I'm going to be cooking on a propane stove, so baking is obviously out, and heating cast iron would run through the propane pretty fast. My best thought is to go all out pressing the tofu, using something absorbent at the end to make sure the outside is as dry as I can get it. Is there anything else I could do to get nice, browned tofu using a minimum of fuel?

Edit: I'm asking about doing it without campfires. I may have one now and then, but it's a solo trip (not as much bang for your buck with the wood) and there won't be fire pits everywhere.

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    @Jefromi - have you considered textured vegetable protein instead. Full disclaimer: I hate the stuff. However, it's what I survived on for two weeks backpacking (cooking over fire only, no stove). You rehydrate in water and then use it like meat - with rehydrated vegetables, or I once ate it as a taco filling with salsa. If you're backpacking, dehydrated TVP will be nice & light. – justkt Sep 14 '10 at 19:26
  • Also - there are several types of TVP, don't get the kind cut into small chickens and dinosaurs and such, you can get cubes for $4-5 less/lb if you go to specialty stores/online. – Dorrene Sep 14 '10 at 19:42
  • Will there not be campfires? Cast iron on the campfire will do you wonders. – ManiacZX Sep 14 '10 at 19:44
  • @justkt: Good suggestion, thanks. I don't actually mind it too much, so I'll probably do a bit of that too. @Dorrene: now I just want to have dinosaur-shaped food! – Cascabel Sep 14 '10 at 20:31
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    Not specifically tofu ... but if it's an issue of protein, I'd recommend bringing along some gorp : backpacker.com/may_2001_food_reader_gorp_recipes/skills/2046 – Joe Sep 15 '10 at 2:14
  • Do you have one of those wire racks that hold food in tight but give access to both sides through a grid? I think folks use them for fish sometimes. Anyhow, brush your tofu with oil, put it in one of those racks, and then give it direct heat over the stove or campfire.

  • Same idea, but just use tongs and do one slab at a time. It will brown and heat through quite quickly.

  • Actually, you can do the same thing you do at home in cast iron in an aluminum camping skillet. Just get it real hot, add oil, make sure the tofu is dry, and don't crowd the pan and you'll still be able to get that crust that you love. (As do I).

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    Careful with aluminum and really hot campfires, we've lost some pie "irons" in the camp fire when they melted away. – ManiacZX Sep 14 '10 at 19:53
  • I don't have one of those racks, and I'm not sure if I've seen one - could you post a link/picture? And yeah, I can always do it in aluminum, it's just the amount of fuel I'll go through (I'm a little obsessive). – Cascabel Sep 14 '10 at 20:30
  • @jefromi - something like this: amzn.to/d1OGJs – Michael Natkin Sep 14 '10 at 20:57
  • @Michael: Oh, I feel smart now. That's a great idea, thanks. – Cascabel Sep 14 '10 at 21:04
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    @ManiacZX - that's why you get a cast iron pie iron. It's the only cast iron I own (not by choice, I'd take more) and it's amazing! – justkt Sep 14 '10 at 22:06

Cooked tofu will keep almost as well as raw tofu, and it will be lighter, as the water will be gone. Depending on how long you're planning to camp, you can just fry it all at home, then reheat small amounts of it for dinner.

  • That's a great suggestion, thanks - I can at least manage for some of the trip that way. (I'm taking a month!) – Cascabel Sep 14 '10 at 20:30
  • This was my thought exactly -- I usually bake large quantities; a couple blocks at a time at least -- i would think this would be your best bet. – TJ Ellis Nov 2 '11 at 3:36
  • Also, how do you plan on keeping tofu in any state good for a month!? – TJ Ellis Nov 2 '11 at 3:36

What about making it at home, and just reheating it while you're camping? in addition to tofu, there's tempeh -- and i just read this recipe before checking in here, so this seems timely: http://tinyurl.com/295apgb (leave out the green beans, of course)


I recommend to use tempeh on the trips rather than tofu. Tempeh is capable of being still good even after like 3 weeks in really hot weather (Philippines), while tofu will go bad after few days.

  • This is not at all an answer to the question - and besides, someone else already suggested tempeh. – Cascabel Sep 9 '11 at 1:32
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    @Jefromi, sorry for answering your question! I found the durability of tempeh and tofu the most important for camping and nobody wrote this. – Tomas Sep 9 '11 at 6:53
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    @Jefromi : Tempeh was mentioned, but not why ... as someone not familiar with the stuff, I wouldn't have known about its longer shelf life until Tomas specifically mentioned it. – Joe Sep 9 '11 at 13:25
  • Well, I guess it could be useful to someone else... within the scope of the question I was asking, this is extraneous information. I was just asking about cooking methods, not substitutions. (And If I'm car camping, I have an ice chest.) Oh well. – Cascabel Sep 9 '11 at 16:54

Not sure why, but adding a dash of Tamari while the tofu is being cooked can help with that outside crusty texture.

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