Most recipes (frying, stir-frying or deep-frying) require the tofu to be drained well and patted dry before cooking. This is logical, as moist tofu doesn’t absorb marinades or spices and splatters in the pan. To pat dry, place a triple layer of paper towel on a wooden board or a deep plate. Chop the tofu into the desired shape and put on the paper towel. Then cover with another triple layer of paper towel and press down with your hands onto the tofu to release the moisture.
You can press tofu so that more of the water is released. When pressed, the tofu doesn’t splatter as much in the pan, gets a crispier crust and it absorbs the marinade more easily. If you have a tofu press, you can press a block of tofu by simply leaving it in the press for an hour. If you don’t, use one of the following methods:
Simple method: Wrap a block of tofu in a tea towel. Place on a plate and put a wooden chopping board on top, and weigh it down with something heavy, like a pan of water. Let the tofu drain until you think it is firm enough. This method is only suitable for firm and extra-firm tofu.
Chinese method: Cut the tofu into the desired shapes and place in boiling water to simmer for 5 minutes, until the tofu seems to become quite soft. Remove the tofu and leave it to drain in a colander. The tofu becomes firm but retains a velvety texture that easily absorbs marinades and sauces. This method is only suitable for firm varieties of tofu.
Salt method: Cut the tofu into the desired shapes and place in salt water for 15 minutes. Leave the soaked tofu to drain in a colander and pat dry with paper towel. This technique leaves the tofu lightly salted. These cubes are delicious in winter stews.