Advanced Tofu Techniques: Textures & Flavours
Mastering tofu is all about taking things to the next level, so we’ve pulled together some ideas for experimenting with the texture of tofu, methods for marinating your tofu and tips for increasing flavour. With our advice, you’ll be taking your tofu dishes to the next level in no time!
Changing the Texture of Tofu
Slicing before pressing
When it comes to texture, Cauldron Organic Original Tofu is incredibly versatile. A simple way to alter the consistency is by slicing the tofu before pressing, as opposed to pressing the whole block. This will push a lot more water out of the tofu, making the tofu pieces considerably firmer.
Switching up the shapes and sizes of your tofu pieces before pressing can also really have an effect on texture. For example, thinly sliced tofu offers a firmer texture as it is easier to drive out the water on pressing, whereas thicker cubes create a more springy texture. Also, the thinner the piece, the more flavour it can take on as there are more air pockets to fill with flavour and a bigger surface area to smother in sauce.
Pre-boiling your tofu can help create a slightly tougher texture. Place your tofu cubes or slices in well salted boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Drain and gently squeeze the water from the tofu with kitchen roll to remove as much water as possible, then use as required in your recipe. Keep in mind this will lightly season your tofu throughout – just remember not to add too much extra salt during or after cooking.
When it comes to freezing tofu, we normally advise against it – simply because it changes the colour and texture to something you might not be expecting. However, if a different texture is what you’re after, you could give it a try. When frozen, the water inside the tofu expands, creating little bubbles. After thawing, carefully squeeze out the excess water – you’ll see tiny holes the frozen water left behind, perfect for absorbing flavours. This method will make your tofu much softer and crumblier – ideal for a tofu scramble, for example. You’ll find it’s how tofu is typically served in many Asian restaurants across the world.
Flavouring Your Tofu
If you’re after some extra flavour and you don’t have the time to marinate your tofu, our Marinated Tofu Pieces and our Sweet Ginger Tofu are both excellent ways of enjoying tofu with an authentic Asian taste. But you can easily create your own marinades, glazes and coatings – it’s fun to try out different flavour combinations, and our Organic Original Tofu makes an ideal blank canvas to experiment with.
We recommend marinating pressed tofu for at least 30 minutes. You could also try leaving tofu to soak in strong flavoured marinades overnight, such as ones based on curry pastes, garlic or heavily spiced mixes. This gives time for all those delicious flavours to sneak into the nooks and crannies of the tofu and provides an extra kick to your dish – our recipe for Brazilian Peri Peri Skewers is a great example of how to pack a flavoursome punch.
Glazes are a simple and effective way of getting lots of flavour onto your pressed tofu pieces. Coat the tofu in a sauce then reducing the amount of liquid by heating either in a saute pan or in the oven to drive off the moisture and concentrate the flavours. See our Sticky Tofu and Char Siu Tofu recipes for inspiration, ingredients and times.
Coatings add texture and flavour all in one go. Whether it be bread crumbs, batter or dustings, they can all be loaded with herbs and spices to add layers of bite and flavour – our Tofu Pizza Slices and Spicy Buffalo Tofu Bites are great examples.
Simply coating your tofu in seasoned corn flour can produce a nice crispness either in the oven or through frying before adding to your dish. If you’d like to experiment with adding a further layer of flavour, you could also try a pre-dust. This adds another dimension either underneath a batter or breading.
Don’t forget your method of cooking can change the taste – chargrilling, for example, gives a rich, smoky flavour. Sautéing your marinated or coated tofu over high heat or oven baking will caramelise it and add rich, moreish notes to your dish. Or, for an extra flavour hit, press herbs, spices or garlic directly inside your cubes of tofu before baking. Let your imagination be your guide!