Serious tofu problems - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-16-2003, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've only recently started cooking tofu at home. I've always eaten it in public at restaurants. The problem is when I stir-fry it comes out wet and almost like I blended it. How do I cook it so that it is nice and firm like in thai or oriental restaurants? I always buy firm or extra firm so I don't think that could be it. Any help would be appreciated (dh will give up soon on it if I don't figure this out).
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#2 of 9 Old 01-16-2003, 11:27 AM
 
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Hi, We like our tofu super firm as you decribe. The tofu needs to be drained really well so that it is not soggy and wet. This is what I do:
1. Drain the tofu. Take the block and slice it into 5 thick slices (like bread).
2. Pat it dry. Place in a single layer on the counter or a cutting board with lots of paper towels or cloth towels both under it and over it.
3. Put plates or another cutting board over the top and weigh it down with lots of cans or something heavy. Let it drain for awhile- an hour or so. Sometimes I change the towels as they get really wet.
4. Then I cut it into cubes and saute the tofu in oil and galic on high heat so it browns really well.

Some people freeze tofu first after slicing it. It changes the texture and makes it chewy.

Tofu is best also when marinated for awhile. I am wondering what others do. Do you drain and then marinade or the other way around?
Hope this helps!
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#3 of 9 Old 01-16-2003, 02:39 PM
 
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I agree, you need to press it first for best results, coz there's so much water in there!
First, I take the tofu out of the package, and rinse it, then I dry it with paper towel. Next, I just put the whole piece on a plate, then put another plate on top and weigh it down, usu with a few cans. Allow abt 30 mins. Then pour away the water, and do whatever you want with the tofu- slice, cube, marinate, etc.
Another tip is to coat the tofu cubes with beaten egg to make it crispy on the outside.

Good Luck and have fun!!
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#4 of 9 Old 01-16-2003, 02:46 PM
 
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Earth, Oh, great idea about the egg! I always wondered how to get that crispiness on the outside! Thanks!
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#5 of 9 Old 01-16-2003, 04:43 PM
 
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I buy my tofu in bulk from a co-op so I have no choice but to freeze some of it. I have found that I prefer that tofu, 'cause I like it really chewy and want it to hold up in stir frys, etc. I treat it like my mom would her meat; take it out of the freezer in the a.m, then around noon, I'll slice and press it.
It's important to get as much of the water as you can out BEFORE you marinate it, because if there's water in the little cells, there's nowhere for the marinade to penetrate...
we do real healthy things like make "chicken fried tofu"; dredged in eggs and cornflakes, that kind of thing or "fish sticks" by adding a lil' dried seaweed to the whole wheat bread crumbs we use to coat it.
If you use it in stir fries, I've always seen recipes calling for adding it at the very end. sometimes, I'll sear it first in the wok, then put it aside while I stir fry the veggies, then add it back in at the end...
enjoy!
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#6 of 9 Old 01-16-2003, 05:00 PM
 
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I drain it like carminex describes then marinate

often I sizzle quickly still in those slices and then cut into cubes, it never crumbles this way - or I just leave it in slices to serve
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#7 of 9 Old 01-22-2003, 03:21 AM
 
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Freezing will firm tofu, but it also changes the texture.

The tofu or bean curd in Asian dishes is often pan fried first to get that brown firm outside.
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#8 of 9 Old 01-23-2003, 01:00 PM
 
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also make sure you're not using silken tofu- the kind that comes in the aseptic containers. Even the extra-firm silken stuff doesn't turn out well in stir-frys. It is better for pudding & pie filling.

like everyone has said, draining is the way to go. phonebooks are good for this for the weight. As for the browning, there's no really healthy way to do it. I know many Chinese restaurants deep fry it, then cook it in the dish being prepared.

You could try some baked tofu recipes, or breaded for some crunchyness. good luck, & don't give up right away, you'll get the hang of it.
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#9 of 9 Old 01-23-2003, 05:02 PM
 
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yes baking tofu is great!

I often cube tofu then bake with some kind of sauce poured over eg tamari mixed with some almond paste and sweet chilli sauce and water to thin

or mash the tofu and mix with cooked rice an egg or two if you eat them, sunflower seeds and flavourings like tamari or tomato paste and bake in a loaf tin or flatter dish if you like more crunch
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