Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quick-marinated tofu

Want to marinate tofu, but also need to have supper on the table in 20 minutes?  Never learned to stop time for everyone but you?  Here's an easier way to solve that problem, and it works with any tofu marinade recipe. 

This technique is for grilling the marinated tofu in a frying pan, but it works just as well if you're planning to bake or broil it; you just can't do the whole meal in one pan.

First, assemble the ingredients for the marinade in a large non-stick frying pan.  This is a tofu marinade from the Rebar cookbook, but you can use your favorite.  What you see here is light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sambal olek, brown sugar, lime juice, pepper, and a little Thai basil (frozen).  You will also need to add a bit of water or vegetable stock.

Meanwhile, quick-press the tofu, like this (note that this works only with firm or extra-firm tofu, not soft or silken).  Cut the block of tofu into two, three, or four pieces widthwise:

Take a clean tea towel, fold it in half lengthwise on a counter, and place one of the tofu slices on it, leaving enough room on the bottom end of the towel to fold over the tofu:

Fold the bottom part of the tea towel up over the slice of tofu, and place another tofu slice on top:

Now fold all that over, sandwiching your third (or third and fourth) tofu slices into the cloth so that each slice is surrounded by cloth and you have a neat packet:

Now place your open palms over the packet and lean hard.  As long as the weight is evenly distributed, the tofu can take it!  Lean very hard, until you feel your hands becoming damp from the water the tofu is giving up.  Turn the packet over and do the same on the other side.  The pressing process will take two minutes at most.  When you unwrap the packet, the cloth will be wet and the tofu will be fairly dry.  Now place the slices in the marinade:

Turn them over to coat:

...and turn the heat on just to Min to warm everything up a bit.  The tofu will absorb as much of the marinade in five minutes once it's been quick-pressed and warmed in the marinade as it will in an hour.  You can cut your vegetables while you wait.  It's done!

Pour off as much of the marinade as you can (but save it), and the tofu is ready for frying:

For a fast meal, remove the tofu pieces from the pan, leaving the oil behind, turn up the heat, and stir fry a few vegetables, adding some of the marinade to flavour them.  You can get fancy and make a little sauce of the marinade by adding extra water and a bit of cornstarch, but I didn't do that:

Here's the whole plate, sprinkled with chopped cashews, cucumber, and red onion, and served over jasmine rice.  Start the rice cooking before you assemble the marinade ingredients, and your meal will be ready when the rice is.


  1. Isn't it amazing what one can accomplish in 20 minutes? And you only used one pan, one towel, the cutting board and a knife! The marinade sounds great.

  2. Thanks for the cool tips! That marinade sounds so good, and what a beautiful plate of food.

  3. Wow! Looks great and that is a great tip! :)

  4. Clever! I will definitely do this!

  5. This tofu look awsome !

    I just made an okara-banana-vegan cake and translate it in english, just for you :-)

  6. Superbe !!!!!! j'en prends n0te :::: merci bien B0n samedi

  7. Thanks, everyone, especially La fourmi for her dedicated banana bread recipe. If you make soymilk and need uses for okara, check it out! La fourmi is a fellow experimenter and her blog is always worth watching :-)

  8. Fantastic ideas, and I like the taste combination. Being 3 months pregnant and soon to have two children under the age of 2, it's really great to get more quick Asian dinner ideas. I crave Asian food! Thanks.