I discovered an amazing tofu trick via Slate yesterday. Many times tofu’s been called a “flavor sponge” that soaks up marinade or sauce and takes on its flavor. Many times I’ve tasted tofu prepared this way only to think “no, it doesn’t.” That’s because tofu is frequently saturated with water and couldn’t possibly absorb anything. Drain it as you will, you’ll only mess up a dish towel or use a whole roll of paper towels (where does the water keep coming from??). I happen to love the taste of tofu au naturel, but when I need it to take on flavor, I need it to take on flavor. How to possibly accomplish this when my bean curd simply refuses? Freeze it.
When tofu is frozen, the water content inside gathers together and expands into crystals that form pockets throughout the tofu’s interior. As in, the water is no longer evenly dispersed throughout the slab, preventing it from absorbing anything else. You’re left with a denser, firmer product (known in China as dong dou fu) that’s only too happy to drink up all the ponzu you pour on it. It even looks more like a sponge.
This technique can be applied to any kind of tofu from silken to extra-firm to give it a toothsome texture more similar to meat. Try this hack with tofu steaks and prepare to discover your new favorite thing to toss on the grill.
Easy tofu recipes on Food Republic: