you can cook tofu in many ways, but i think what’s more important is the preparation of the tofu. i used to be terrible at cooking it until i learned how to better prepare this versatile, easy-to-find food. now it’s one of my favorite proteins to cook on a weekly basis!
we almost always work with extra-firm tofu. take it out of the package and drain out the water. then wrap the block in a thick towel, put it on a plate, and place something heavy and stable on top.
this is called “pressing” the tofu, and you should do it anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours. tofu is like a sponge; the longer you press it, the more open it will be to take any flavor you want to give it. i like to press it for about an hour.
when you take it out of the towel, it should be a tougher texture, drier and denser.
make a marinade for your pressed tofu. this can be whatever you like, it could be mustard based, red wine vinegar with spices, barbeque, etc. my favorite marinade is this “bacon”-flavored marinade. i usually make that marinated tofu and coat it with barbeque sauce.
depending on what you’re doing with the tofu, cut it in the shapes you want and put it in a sealable container. we’re going to use it for sandwiches, so i sliced it into 1/4 inch thin pieces.
pour in your marinade, and seal the container. shake it up so everything is evenly coated. let it marinate for at least a couple of hours, though i like to let it go overnight.
you could do a quicker preparation, this is just the best way to get the most flavor and best texture possible, in my opinion. the quick preparation for big flavor is an hour: 20 minutes press, 30 minutes marinate, cook.
after preparing, you could go plenty of ways with cooking the tofu. you could fry it on a pan (3-5 minutes per side for a “steak”-like piece of tofu), cube it and put it in a soup, bake it in the oven, coat it with a batter & deep fry it, and more. check out our tofu tag for ideas. experiment and have fun!