Like many vegetarians and vegans, tofu and I have a very close relationship, one that’s been going strong for as long as I can remember. Even when I subsisted on a diet of ramen and hot dogs as a child, I would eat big platefuls of szechuan tofu at Chinese restaurants with gusto, unaware that my choice was actually relatively healthy. A stir-fry staple and base for countless desserts, there is always at least one brick of soybean curd around the house, if not closer to ten or eleven.
Thanks to increasing mainstream acceptance of tofu as an actual edible food substance, there’s a plethora of recipes using it now, and it would seem as every possible avenue has been explored, tofu baked, fried, and sauteed; stuffed, encrusted, and marinated; pureed, mashed, and otherwise annihilated into particles so tiny that not even the most discerning toddler’s palate could pick them out. But there is still one sticking point that prevents all approaches to this beany delight from being successful- All that water stored up in each brick tends to come out at all the wrong times, preventing that perfect sear on the sides, or blocking a marinade from the center of even the smallest cubes. One could easily press tofu between paper towels and two plates, as my family has for generations (or at least, that’s how my mom always taught me,) but for those who love gadgets and added convenience, I have found just the thing: The TofuXpress.
Before anyone gets up in arms over what a miserable uni-tasker this compact tool is, just you look here- It’s great for more than just tofu. Think pressed salads, drained frozen spinach, and anything else that needs a bit of weight to set up properly. Of course, designed primarily for the purpose of squishing the water out of tofu, this is what it absolutely excels at. After just an hour in the press, my brick of extra-firm tofu was nearly half the size as when it came out of the package. Giving it another hour just to see the effects, it reduced even further to about a third of its original height.
Side by side comparison of an unpressed block of tofu (left) and one that’s been in the TofuXpress for 2+ hours (right.)
Now that’s much flatter than I could ever dream of getting one of these things with just two plates. Compacted, the texture is unlike any other tofu readily available, dense, chewy, and nearly creamy in the center. Perfect for imitating feta, it just needs a quick marinade- which can neatly be poured right into the TofuXpress and then sealed with the included lid- and you have a truly unique salad topper. This is one fun kitchen accessory that I know will get endless use around here. And pssst, it may be the perfect holiday gift to get for the vegan cook that has everything, in case you were at a loss for ideas.