There exists a basic tofu principle that is: In order for your tofu to absorb flavorful liquid marinades, stir-fry sauces, and soup stocks, the no-flavor liquid—i.e. the water—must first come out.
Several methods will expel the water from your tofu:
That's right: Freeze your tofu. (Even if it's not nearing its expiration date—but especially if it is!)
When the tofu freezes, its water turns to ice crystals, which create small, sponge-like holes that remain once the tofu is thawed and the ice turns into water. As a Slate article explains, frozen tofu is "far spongier, firmer, and chewier than it was before. No amount of draining, patting dry, or pressing tofu can minimize sogginess as much as freezing does."
(Side note: Freezing tofu also turns the bean protein yellow, according to Minh Tsai of Hodo Soy Beanery—and that's why your tofu doesn't look like itself when it comes out of the freezer.)
Timing wise, I find it easiest to freeze the tofu overnight, then transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw during the day, while I'm at work. When I return in the evening, my tofu is a sponge, ready to absorb
my love the sauces, dressings, and marinades I throw at it.
What's your favorite way to prepare tofu? Ready, set, go (in the comments below)!
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