Tofu is an often vilified ingredient and I can totally understand why. It’s often prepared incorrectly, or no attention is given to it at all, so it ends up being soggy, mushy, and tasteless. No one wants that.
The key to producing a mouth-watering tofu dish is to give it a little TLC. Tofu doesn’t like to be neglected. Most savoury tofu dishes use the extra-firm variety, and while firm, it is still pretty waterlogged straight out of the package. You need to get that water out to make room for the actual flavour you’re going to add later. The first step is to press your tofu. All you need to do is line a plate with paper towels, put the block of tofu on top, cover it with some more paper towels, then put a heavy pot or a stack of books on top and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. Seriously. I thought this was crazy nonsense too until I actually started doing it.
After the pressing process, your paper towels will be saturated and the plate will be full of water. That means there’s tons of room in that tofu to suck up delicious flavours. The next step is to cube your tofu and let it sit in marinade for at least an hour, then bake it for 20 minutes to lock in that flavour. And voila! Flavourful tofu that doesn’t suck, at your service!
This marinade recipe calls for vegan fish sauce, which, I’ll admit, is an odd ingredient. Fish sauce (made of fermented fish) is traditionally used in South East Asian cooking, and adds a pungent yet delicious flavour to dishes, which is why I chose to use a vegan version to give the tofu an authentic flavour. Vegan fish sauce can be difficult to track down depending on where you live. I’ve purchased mine at both Chinese and Vietnamese groceries. If you’re serious about Asian cooking, it’s worth tracking down, but if you’re not in to fish sauce (I get it), you can use soy sauce instead.
This recipe is quick, easy, and fantastic. Try it in my recipe for Thai Green Curry, or pop them on skewers and serve with peanut dipping sauce. If you give it a try, leave me a note in the comments to let me know how it turned out!
What are you waiting for? Start pressing that tofu!