I have many recipes using tofu (type tofu in search box to the right of my blog) and on many occasions have given the instruction to “press” out the moisture before using. I would like to demonstrate how I do this and at how you can do this in the future!
Tofu is a very malleable ingredient and comes in all sorts of textures and consistencies. Unless I am using it in a brothy soup where my tofu of choice would be something soft and silky, in general I tend to want it to be very firm. Tofu comes in firm and very firm or even extra firm varieties, but it still retains moisture I don’t particularly desire for many of my dishes. So, how do you get the water out?
The secret is plain old Pressure! Tofu comes in blocks or “cakes” sitting in an enclosed carton of water. The water keeps the tofu fresh and stops it from shrivelling up like a dehydrated sponge. This water is easily squeezed by stacking something heavy on top of the tofu. The pressure over a period of time (I do this for 15 minutes and up to 1 hour depending how much time I have) rids the block of water.
I use whatever is handy; stack of dinner plates, 1 dinner plate and a couple of hefty cook books, or as above, a big soup pot. You just have to make sure it is balanced, and readjust as needed, (you know, when plates look like they might shatter to the kitchen floor!).
When the water is removed the tofu can put up with more abuse during the frying process, and absorbs more flavor if cooked in richly seasoned liquids.
That’s it, so don’t be afraid to buy tofu and pile it high with heavy objects. Now this is something you can try at home!