I didn’t talk much about the tofu in the stir fry I posted about earlier this week and another one of its vices: its fragile form. Tofu falls apart really easy, even when working the extra firm kind. This stuff does not take a beating well and the stirring and tossing of making a stir fry will cause it to crumble. (Interesting Fact! Did you know the main difference between soft and firm tofu is simply the amount of water? Now you do!) There are a couple ways (that I know of) to make tofu more resilient, pressing more water out and giving it a quick sear. I decided to revisit this week’s stir fry with a seared tofu and then pressed & seared tofu.
The searing was pretty straight forward. After taking half a block of tofu and cutting it into quarter inch pieces, I threw them in a pan under medium-high heat with a bit of oil. Thanks to the high water content of tofu there was quite a bit of spitting. I let it sit for a bit, checking occasionally for browning on the bottom as a sign that it was becoming a bit more stable, then tossed it with a tablespoon of tamari. I then continued to cook till browned on all sides. Between the tamari and browning, the tofu took on a nice flavor and was much firmer.
While I was working on the first half of tofu the second half was sitting in a colinder with a mid-size pot full of water resting on top. This was to press water out for about 45 minutes. Then I pretty much did the same thing as above. Still plenty of water for for spitting, but the browning was much quicker and deeper. In fact, I stepped away to wash a few dishes and got some burning very quickly!
Overall, I liked the second method for a stronger structure as well as a more significant taste. Both worked well and I may consider the first method for depending on what ingredients I’m adding it to and where I want it as a dominant ingredient or not.