Tofu Marinating Hack

Tofu Marinating Hack - Vegetal MattersMarinating and roasting tofu has become my go-to preparation. When I first started cooking tofu I would cut it into cubes and painstakingly fry it so that each side was perfectly golden. Often I would hover too much and try to turn them before they had time to crisp and they would break apart. I didn’t own good tongs so I would try to turn them with my fingers which led to inevitable burning (sorry, Mom).

I owe my much improved method to the Thug Kitchen cookbook, which calls for tofu to be cut into thin planks, marinated, and then roasted at 450F for 30 minutes, flipping and topping with extra marinade at 15, 10, and 5 minutes. I roast mine on a silicone mat to ease cleanup, and the result is firm but slightly crispy tofu with concentrated flavor. You can serve the planks as is, or cut then into small strips (my usual preference).

The flaw in this execution is the marinating container. I don’t own a bowl that exactly fits the tofu, so the marinade only comes part way up and I have to flip the planks around to get them evenly marinated. I’ve been doing this for years. Last week I was wishing once again that I had a container exactly the size of my tofu to marinate it in, so that I could use the minimum amount of marinade to cover maximum surface area. And then it dawned on me that I have been buying my tofu in said container every single time and then throwing it in the recycle bin before struggling with inferior containers. Really, Tori? REALLY?

So I fished the little container out of the recycle bin, washed it, put my tofu planks right back inside and covered them with the marinade. Immediate, complete coverage. Hallelujah!

This method works great with cutting the block into planks because they just snug right back up against each other. It would be a bit more of a puzzle to put together if you prefer to cut into cubes, but still possible. If someday down the line I start making my own tofu I will be right back to the container drawing board, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. (There is a tofu recipe in The Homemade Kitchen I’ve been eyeing, but I haven’t taken the plunge.) For now this simple solution makes a favorite cooking process even better. I’m sure this has been thought of before, but I can’t believe it hasn’t be written into every recipe that calls for tofu marination. Let’s change that!

(The tofu marinating in the photo is from the Thai chopped salad with tofu I made last week. I followed the recipe for the marinade, and then used the Thug Kitchen method for cooking.)

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