Posted by: Hil | February 8, 2009

Tofu Perfected

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I am back!  Over the last week, we have been moving into our new apartment and our old internet service got cut off a few days earlier than I was expecting.  But we are now mostly settled in and I am happy to be back to blogging.  Tonight was a personal triumph for me.  I finally figured out how to make tofu well.  You see, I love tofu.  I think that well-made tofu is a delight to eat, and since it’s so healthy and cheap, it’s a great item to have on hand.  The problem is, I can never manage to make my tofu taste as good as it seems to in restaurants.  Unless you prepare it properly, tofu has a tendency to be overly mushy or just bland.  I’ve tried a lot of different preparations: stirfying, baking, searing, you name it.  I’ve had moderate success, but never reached the heights I really wanted to.  Until now.  My tofu tonight was exactly how I like it: firm, slightly chewy, intensely flavored all the way through and just a little bit crispy on the edges.  I am very happy!  The process of preparing the tofu took awhile, but it wasn’t difficult or labor-intensive.

First, I discovered a new way to remove the excess liquid from tofu.  I’ve tried pressing tofu before, but never had much luck.  Today, I just poured off the liquid the tofu came in, patted the block dry with a paper towel, and stood it up in its box.  Extra liquid drained down into the dish.  I left it like this for several hours, emptying the excess liquid every now and then.  Then I chopped the tofu into chunks and marinated them for 30-45 minutes in a shallow dish in a mixture of sesame oil, tamari soy sauce, agave ginger, garlic, and chili paste.  I think draining the tofu really well made a big difference, because the tofu really soaked up the marinade even in the short time that I let it sit.  Next, I baked the tofu chunks in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes.  I served them with saifun bean noodles and vegetables.

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Because we were moving, the last week has been relatively boring from a culinary perspective.  We didn’t want to have to fuss with too many perishable food items, so we ate down the fridge, made a big pot of lentil soup, and lived off of that for a week.  There are worse rations to live off of, but I am happy to have a stocked kitchen again!

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Responses

  1. That’s a great idea for drying out tofu. I always get so frustrated. My mom tells me I should freeze it to get a good consistency but I never got the full instructions from her so I never tried that way. Currently I just press it with paper towels, but I like your way better (as long as I remember to get it out early).

  2. Haha, I usually have my tofu plain! LOL, for some reason, I don’t find it bland at all. But oh wow, your tofu looks so great!!!

  3. Congrats on the move!!!

  4. WELCOME BACK!!

    Hooray for the move being over with and for lentil soup!! 🙂

  5. Hoooray for perfect tofu! It really is an art form!

  6. Cool draining technique!

  7. the tofu looks great!

  8. Great idea! This way the tofu doesn’t get squished by the weight of whatever is pressing it!

  9. Im not a huge tofu fan, but that looks great!!

  10. Great job for figuring out how to cook it! It feels so good to accomplish something like that. And thanks for the tips with draining it and all.

  11. Thanks for the ideas on how to drain and prepare tofu. I am going to try this method out this week.


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