Although I’ve already done a post on how to press tofu, I decided to do another one, but with a different angle. In this post, I wanted to compare towel pressing tofu against the conventional way of pressing tofu, which typically involves wrapping the entire block in some paper towels and adding a plate or something similar on the top, then weighing it down with another heavy pot or cans.
If you just want to remove some of the water from the tofu for something like a scramble or fried tofu, this method is perfectly fine. But if you want to marinate it in something, getting out all of the moisture from the tofu is key. The problem with keeping the tofu whole is that it doesn’t sufficiently pull out the moisture from the center. And placing wet tofu into a marinade not only waters it down, but also inhibits the tofu from properly absorbing it.
To get around these issues, I cut the tofu (only firm or extra-firm tofu will work here) into four or eight slabs, then use a highly absorbent bath towel and 10 pounds of even weight (large coffee table books are great) to draw out as much moisture as possible. This turns the tofu into virtual soy sponges that will greedily soak up marinades and maximize its flavor.
To illustrate the difference, I created two tofu guinea pigs, which I’ve called “Tofu A” and “Tofu B,” respectively. I’ve placed them pressed and marinated (in beet juice*) side-by-side, and the difference was dramatic!
Below are some tofu recipes that are great to use with this method:
- Balsamic-Agave Tofu
- Black Pepper and Thyme Crusted Tofu
- Grilled Sambal Oelek Tofu
- Lemongrass Tofu
- Sriracha and Peanut Butter Tofu
- Tofu Tikka Masala
- Vegan Paneer
- Za’atar Tofu
For more ideas on how to use tofu, check out my 15-Minute Quick and Easy Tofu post.
*Although beet juice is great for illustrating a point here, I wouldn’t recommend actually using it in a marinade.