Time-Saving Tip for “Firm” Tofu

Soy Deli brand Nigari Tofu

Tofu. You either love it or you hate it. If you aren’t a lover, I suggest giving it another try. Perhaps you would enjoy it prepared another way. Or perhaps you were annoyed by the process required to press the water out of the tofu. Firm and extra firm tofu are packaged in hard plastic containers soaking in water. Before you cook it, you must press the water out so the tofu can soak up the flavors and spices you use when cooking it.

I once went to a vegan cooking class where the instructor taught this complicated technique to press tofu:

  1. Take the tofu out of the package.
  2. Slice it three times long-ways.
  3. Place the three slices on the back of a baking sheet.
  4. Sit another baking sheet on top of the tofu.
  5. Add a five-pound weight because, of course, I have one just sitting around my kitchen.
  6. Then find something in your kitchen that will allow you to slant the baking trays, so that the water will drip out and fall into the sink.

I wish I had a picture. It was ridiculous. Not only time-consuming, but how am I going get the baking sheets to stay at diagonal angle without having to hold it for at least 10-15 minutes. I have never once tried this at home and I don’t suggest you do either. Instead, I would just slice the tofu and half-heartedly press it with a few towels. If I pressed enough water out  to allow for a bit of the spices or marinade to soak in, I was satisfied.

A few months ago I noticed an ad in VegNews for the TofuXpress — a contraption you can use to easily squeeze out the water. I considered buying it until my friend, Fran, recommended Soy Deli brand Nigari tofu. What a difference! This tofu is sealed tightly in soft plastic wrap with very little water. So little water, pressing and squeezing isn’t necessary. Since learning about Nigari, I wonder why it would be packaged any other way. Recently I spotted another brand at Whole Foods in the same type of packaging: Wild Wood Organics Sprouted Tofu. Hopefully more companies will follow suit making tofu an even more convenient protein source. So the next time you buy firm tofu, I suggest one of these brands to save you time in the kitchen. By the way, they are normally located on the first shelf above all the other tofu at Whole Foods. If you don’t live near a Whole Foods, you can always ask your local market or health food store to carry one of these brands.

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