When my husband and I stopped eating meat, we added a block of tofu to our weekly shopping list. We didn’t want to eat too much of it what with all the focus on added estrogen from soy but once a week seemed like a good way to get some protein into our diets. The problem was, we weren’t loving it. No matter how we marinated, baked and fried, our tofu was spongy and bland.
That is until we discovered the art of pressing tofu!
Problem: The firm tofu that we buy at the grocery store comes packaged in water, meaning that the tofu itself is pretty waterlogged right off the bat. The water keeps the tofu from absorbing yummy, flavourful marinade and makes it really difficult to achieve that crunchy texture we were used to in restaurant tofu dishes.
Solution: By pressing the tofu before cooking, you can remove a large majority of the excess water. This is a total gamechanger!
Method: You can splurge and buy a dedicated tofu press or if you are cheap like me, you can McGyver your own at home. Note: You can press a whole block of tofu but I prefer to cut it into 6 slices.
How to assemble:
- Your first layer should be a baking sheet or cutting board – something that is smooth, flat and can handle a bit of water.
- On top of your baking sheet or cutting board, lay down a folded dishcloth and a few pieces of paper towel to absorb the water.
- Place your tofu slices on the paper towel.
- Layer more paper towel pieces on top of that and one more folded dish towel on top of those.
- Add one more cutting board or smooth, even surface. Again, something that can handle a bit of water…so not a book.
- Now add some weight on top of everything to press that water out. If you have a cast iron dutch oven on hand, I’d recommend using that but any combo of heavy cookbooks, cans or even hand weights will work.
Leave your tofu pressing on the counter for an hour and then go ahead and add it to a marinade. Click here for my favourite tofu marinade recipes (coming soon).
Warning: You cannot press silken tofu! It’s just too delicate and you will end up with a tofu mush. I have heard that you can try freezing it instead but I haven’t yet tested this method. Feel free to comment if you have any tips.