Including tofu in your meals is a great way to go meatless and still get the protein your body needs. But tofu can be tricky to deal with. It can’t absorb all those flavorful marinades, stir-fry sauces, and soup stocks if you don’t first remote its water. And if you’re trying to prepare crispy tofu, everything depends on getting it as dry as possible.
You may have heard one or two ways to get the water out, but there are 6 methods we’ve used to get the job done? So try few of these, see what works best for you, and perfect your tofu game.
This is the classic method because it’s simple and quick. Remove your tofu from the packaging and use paper towels or a dishcloth to absorb the moisture. Then place the tofu block on top of 6-8 layers of paper towels or a folded dishcloth. Place another 6-8 layers of paper towels or a folded dishcloth on top of the tofu. It’s kind of like a big tofu sandwich. Then place a cutting board or flat object (like a large skillet) on top. Place additional weight on top, but not so much that the block crumbles. Let sit for 30 minutes.
If you’ve ever cooked something uncovered for too long in the microwave, you know it can get dried out. You can apply that same principle to tofu. Just know that this method works better for cubed tofu. Remove it from the packaging and use paper towels or a dishcloth to absorb the moisture. Place the tofu in a microwave-safe container without a lid. Microwave on high for two minutes. Remove the tofu from the container and place on a paper towel or dishcloth. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Then gently squeeze out any remaining water by pressing it with your hands.
Before we had refrigerators, packing food in salt used to be a method for preserving it. The salt removed moisture and dried the food. The same method works for tofu. Remove it from the packaging and use paper towels or a dishcloth to absorb the moisture. Cut it up into whatever size cubes work for the meal you’re cooking and place them in a bowl. Bring two cups of salted water to a boil (use about 2 tablespoons of salt). Pour the water over the tofu and let it sit for 15 minutes. Drain off the salt water and pat the tofu dry with paper towels or a dishcloth.
When you freeze tofu, any water turns into ice crystals. Those crystals create sponge-like holes that remain after the tofu is thawed, and they make it easier to get the water out. First, remove your tofu from the packaging and use paper towels or a dishcloth to absorb the moisture. You can either cut it up or keep the solid block. Place it in an airtight container or freezer bag and store in your freezer for up to three months. When you know you’ll be needing some, place it in the refrigerator ahead of time to thaw. Squeeze or pat any excess water out of the thawed tofu.
If you eat a lot of tofu, buying a tofu press could be worth it. You can get them in a box style that fully encloses the block of tofu, or a press style that is more like two plates that push from the top and bottom. We like the box style, because it does a better job of maintaining the shape of your tofu and seems faster (about 15 minutes) in our experience.
When we built South and Hickory Place, we made sure to include well-equipped kitchens with high-quality countertops, solid wood cabinets and modern appliances. We think cooking at home is a big part of what makes a home feel like home. And we wanted to make sure our residents never felt their kitchens held them back from cooking their own healthy meals. Bon Appétit!