What Does This Mean and Why Do We Press Tofu?
Tofu is like a Sponge. It holds a lot of water. So when we are making a recipe that requires us to fry tofu in oil, we press the tofu first.
This will get rid of a lot of the water. As a result, the cooked tofu will come out dry and crisp.
Should I buy a Tofu Press?
No, you do not need to buy a press. You can if you would like to but it’s not necessary. All you need is a towel and a heavy household item.
For example, a book or a pan. Or a pan with a book on top of it. I found that a medium size cast iron pan worked best for me, but not everyone owns a cast iron so just use what you can find around the house.
Note: The item should be light enough as to not break or crush the tofu, but heavy enough so that there is still enough pressure to get rid of a lot of the moisture.
What Kind of Tofu Should I Use?
In my opinion, it is best to use firm or extra firm tofu when you plan on frying it. Here I use extra firm tofu.
Wrap the tofu in the paper towel. (The paper towel is optional. You can just use a clean cloth towel if you are okay with it touching your tofu.)
Then, wrap that in the cloth towel.
Now, put the wrapped tofu on a surface that you do no mind getting a little wet. For example, I am using a cutting board.
Place your heavy item on top of the wrapped tofu. Reference the picture below. It is a little odd to look at, but it does the trick!
And let that sit for about 30 minutes.
Then you can carefully unwrap the tofu.
You will see that the tofu is flatter and denser and that the towel has soaked up a lot of the water.
Now it is ready for frying!