I’ve never been successful cooking with tofu. In fact, the last time I attempted a tofu stir-fry, it ended up in the bin. Restaurants seem to manage to make it so it resembles actual food and not a gungy spongy lump of tasteless splodge but whatever their technique is, it has so far eluded me.
Until now, that is. Recently, I’ve read on various blogs and Facebook pages about people pressing tofu to squeeze all the water out of it. Pressing techniques ranged from using a fancy press to using a plate with something heavy on top. I chose the ‘plate with something heavy on top’ technique.
I placed the tofu (it had been frozen and defrosted first, as freezing also helps to make it firmer) on a plate, placed another plate on top of the tofu and placed two heavy cookbooks on top of this and left it for about an hour. Some water had indeed been squeezed out but, on prodding it, there was a lot of water still in the tofu so I pressed down harder and squeezed more out of it. Even after pressing down and pressing down, the tofu still seemed a bit waterlogged but it was certainly a lot firmer than it had been and I decided it had got to the ‘it’ll do’ stage.
‘It’ll do’ certainly did, as the tofu, once cooked, was the perfect texture and not in the slightest bit gungy or spongy. It was, despite being marinated, a bit bland – next time I’ll coat it in some barbecue sauce or something similar before dredging it in breadcrumbs.
I can’t believe I managed to cook tofu successfully and I’ll definitely be using the pressing method again. Although I served two per person, they were filling and I reckon one would be enough.
Tofu Escalopes with Salsa (makes 6)
(recipe adapted from Veggienomics by Nicola Graimes)
1 block tofu, sliced into 6 slices
75g Japanese panko crumbs
5 tbsp sunflower oil
salt and pepper
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
100g drained tinned haricot beans
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1/4 red onion, sliced
1 tbsp bottled jalapeno chillies, drained and chopped
1 handful of coriander, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
- Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and season well. Put the tofu in a large, shallow dish, spoon the marinade over and spread over both sides. Leave to marinate, covered, for 1 hour.
- Mix all the ingredients for the salsa together and leave in the fridge until serving.
- Beat the eggs in a shallow dish. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate shallow dish and season. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Dip the tofu slices into the egg and then the crumbs until coated all over, then fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the salsa.