Hey guys! Today I’m sharing another one of my posts from Nasoya’s Tofu U! As a member of the Dean’s List I have the honor of sharing some of my tofu knowledge with all the wonderful people out there who are just starting to dip their toes in the world of tofu, and that’s how I came up with the idea for this particular post. Tofu can seem overwhelming the first time you open up that little pack and see all the water in there, right? In the comments, please share YOUR favorite tofu hints and tricks!
“Do I really need to press my tofu?”
The answer to this age-old question is… Maybe. I usually press mine, and for me it’s worth the time and effort because I enjoy a really dense tofu when I’m frying or baking it. It really depends on how you’re planning to prepare the tofu, and what sort of consistency you’re after. Every type of recipe is different, so let’s break it down, shall we?
I’m using soft or silken tofu in a sauce… Do I really need to press it? Nope! I would just drain it completely and then get down to business. Whether you’re blending or simply stirring the tofu into your sauce, that extra liquid shouldn’t be an issue. Of course, if the recipe you’re following specifically instructs you to press it, you should press it.
I’m using soft or firm tofu in a cold dish… Do I really need to press it? This one depends. If you’re just cubing it and adding it to a salad or soup, then no you don’t. Draining the tofu will be enough. If you’re planning to marinate the tofu, however, I’d definitely recommend pressing it first. That allows it to soak up more of your delicious marinade!
I’m using firm or extra firm tofu in a stir-fry or recipe that calls for frying or baking the tofu… Do I really need to press it? Yes, you do, especially if you’re going for a springy tofu that’s crispy on the outside. Simply draining and patting the tofu dry wont do the trick. Which leads to your next question…
How do I press the tofu, and for how long? There are multiple tofu presses on the market, each with a different design and price point. I’ve read both good and bad reviews about all of them, and all can be purchased online. If you’re hesitant to add to your kitchen equipment collection, there are other pressing options. The most popular (and the one I used for more than a year before I finally bought a press) is to wrap the block of tofu in a clean towel and place on a large plate. Cover with another plate (inverted so the flat side is against the tofu, then stack some nice heavy books on top. I would use 2 or 3 sturdy books, then top those with my tea kettle. If you’d rather just use books, stack as many heavy ones on there as you can without them toppling over. It’s important to make sure nothing tips, you don’t want a mess to clean up! If you want a soft-ish tofu (or are in a rush), pressing for 10-15 minutes will work, but if you want that crisp n’ springy tofu we discussed earlier, you’re going to want to go for longer… 30 minutes at least. If you do buy a press, I recommend putting the tofu into it in the morning and leaving it in your fridge all day. That way, when you’re ready to make dinner, you have some seriously dense tofu that’s ready to soak up crazy amounts of marinade!
Of course these aren’t hard and fast rules, and the more you work with tofu the more you’ll realize what works best for you. Whichever method you go with, good luck and happy pressing!