Cooking with Tofu

When cooking dishes with tofu for the very first time, some people are unsure where to begin. The good news is – once you know how – cooking with our Authentic Tofu Block couldn’t be simpler, and it opens the door to a whole world of exciting dishes and recipes. Here’s our starter guide to cooking tasty tofu!

How to prepare tofu

  1. Drain: Preparing tofu is easy. Carefully open the packet with a sharp knife and gently lift the tofu out of its water bath. Drain the water down the sink.

  2. Press: Wrap the block of tofu in several layers of kitchen roll and place between two plates or chopping boards. Weigh the top plate down with some tins or books. Leave for around 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the firmness you need for your recipe – the longer you press it for, the firmer the texture will be. Depending on the amount of water that's pressed out, you may find that you need to replace the kitchen roll. Pressing the water out creates air pockets, which are great for absorbing flavours. When ready, unwrap the tofu.

  3. Slice: Cut your tofu according to your recipe. You can slice it however you like, from small, bite-sized cubes or triangles to wide, thin slices.

  4. Flavour: This step is optional. Tofu is very light on flavour, but its texture allows it to absorb flavours from marinades and sauces. Simply marinate your tofu pieces for at least 30 minutes before cooking, or ideally overnight. (Hold onto the marinade afterwards – you can always use it in the recipe, or marinate more tofu with it.)

We also recommend seasoning your tofu with salt, pepper or other spices before cooking to add a little extra flavour. Why not check out our Authentic Tofu Block recipes for some inspiration? Or, if you’d prefer something quicker or slightly more convenient, check out our full tofu range because we also have a range of yummy tofu that comes pre-cut and pre flavoured, plus an Extra Firm Tofu block which needs no pressing, so you can chop, slice and cube straight from the pack!

How to pan fry tofu

Pan frying tofu has never been easier with our simple 4-step guide:

  1. To make the tofu crispy, coat your tofu pieces in cornflour. This will also help to reduce the risk of the tofu sticking to the pan.

  2. In a non-stick pan, heat a little oil on a medium-high heat. Gently spread the oil to cover the surface of the pan and add the pieces to sizzle and get your tofu cooking.

  3. Leave for a few minutes until the sides are golden, then turn over and leave to fry for a few more minutes.

  4. Once all sides are golden brown, remove from the pan and place them on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

How to bake tofu

Tofu bakes really well. Once pressed, coated and marinated, all you need to do is follow the below simple steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.

  2. Chop, slice or cube your tofu. As a general rule, the thicker the slices, the longer the cooking time. 2cm x 10cm pieces would take around 20 minutes, for example – smaller slices of tofu would take less time to cook in the oven. You could try rolling your tofu pieces in flour for a slightly crispier texture or marinate and season your tofu before you bake it.

  3. Cook until golden brown – the cooking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your pieces, and also your oven of course.

A bowl of Cauldron Extra Firm Tofu bowl with slaw in the background, forefront is a single tofu piece being held my pink chopsticks

How to chargrill tofu

Chargrilling tofu is an easy, but super tasty way to prepare this quickly:

  1. Simply prepare a chargrill pan with oil and preheat to a medium/high setting.

  2. Chargrill your tofu pieces for 2-3 minutes each side (depending on size).

This will give your tofu a deliciously rich and smoky flavour.

How to deep fry tofu

When only deep fried tofu will do…

  1. Pour a thick layer of oil in a deep frying pan or a wok.

  2. Roll your tofu pieces in flour, sesame seeds, breadcrumbs or coating of your choice.

  3. When the oil is heated to between 180°C and 200°C, gently place your tofu pieces in the pan. They will need space to cook correctly – you may need to fry them in several batches.

  4. Once the tofu is golden, remove from the pan and lay on paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

Do you have to cook tofu?

If serving cold as part of a salad or grain bowl, you don’t even need to cook your tofu at all – simply cut into bite-size chunks and cover with your choice of dressing. Don’t forget – there are loads of other ways to cook tofu which you might not have considered, such as scrambled tofu, tofu burgers or blitzed tofu – great for use in desserts. You can also use tofu to form the base of delicious soups and smoothies!

Storing tofu

Keep your tofu in the refrigerator and use before the ‘best before’ date has passed. Once a pack of tofu has been opened, simply place inside a plastic container, cover with cold water and store inside your fridge. If the water is changed daily, the tofu will last 2-3 days after opening. Storing in water helps keep your tofu fresh and stops flavour contamination from nearby foods.

Cooking Tofu - Beginner dishes

With so many ways to cook and enjoy tofu, it’s sometimes tricky to know where to start. It’s delicious in Asian dishes – served with noodles or rice, makes a filling breakfast or brunch when scrambled and served with some veggies or on toast and as we’ve mentioned earlier, can be used in so many different desserts. This plant-based ingredient is definitely one to add to your shopping basket!

Try using tofu in this Black Bean dish, or a Thai Curry – they’re both great recipes to start with.

Get stuck in

Our blog’s bursting with tips and ideas, info and inspiration. It’s all the stuff about plants that we couldn’t wait to share (but didn’t know where else to put!) There’s so much to get your teeth into.