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Jan 6, 2013 09:02 PM

Always boil tofu first..?

Just wanted to share what I learned at a Vietnamese vegan class at the library once.

The cook always boiled tofu for 15 minutes. Doesn't matter if she was baking, grilling, or frying it. She said she boils it then keeps it in the refrigerator til she needs it.

I have yet to grill tofu but by boiling it first the texture become more firm which I really like. Excellent baked or in stir fry.

Just a tip! I was always a big fan of tofu, even before becoming vegetarian. Maybe for some people who have not liked it, this may help a bit.

For reference I use firm tofu.

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  1. I've heard that, too. I was told boiling 3 or 4 minutes makes the tofu easier to digest.

    4 Replies
      1. re: magiesmom

        It shouldn't. You just boil the whole block, or slice them in half.

        If you are planning to fry/dry fry little squares of tofu, boil the full or half block first, then cut it into the pieces you want.

        1. re: youareabunny

          Supposedly, with boiling, it will taste less "beany" which could be better if the tofu is meant for a sauce or "vegannaise" type recipe.

        2. re: magiesmom

          You can buy tofu that has different levels of firmness. Some boxes say "firm", some "medium" some "soft". If you want firm tofu, just buy the firm one instead of boiling medium-firm tofu.

          There is a boiled tofu dish called yudofu which is essentially tofu hotpot. I use medium tofu for that - if you buy the firm one it is too cake like which is not nice.

          If you try to boil soft tofu (kinugoshi) it will turn into very small pieces.

      2. To give tofu more structural integrity, I slice it and freeze it on a baking sheet. The result is a chewier product that takes well to stir frying and grilling. Have you tried that yourself, and if so, is it different from boiling the tofu?

        7 Replies
        1. re: small h

          I used to freeze too. It is slightly firmer when defrosted but grainier (im guessing from the ice puncturing the cells). Boiling it 15 minutes firms it up but with still a smooth texture.

          I prefer boiling now, but maybe if I was attempting tofu jerky then freezing would be better.

          1. re: youareabunny

            Interesting. I will definitely give it a try.

          2. re: small h

            ^^^i mean when compared to boiled tofu, yes the frozen then defrosted tofu is firmer.

            1. re: small h

              trader joe's sells a super firm high protein tofu.
              it is not the stuff that is packaged in a plastic tub.
              it is packaged in clear plastic.

              it is so firm that, even with no extra treatments, it holds it's shape when i make fajitas with it.

              1. re: westsidegal

                Thanks for the tip. I just picked some up today, and it is marinating as I type.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  I'm going to TJ tomorrow to pick up some soy chorizo and the "beef" pieces. Chorizo because I can't get the spices right on my own and I want to make carne asada with the beef stuff. I'll check out that tofu too, thanks :)

                  I am curious too re: calories/serving size in this tofu compared with other firm, extra firm, tofu.

                2. re: small h

                  If the tofu is sliced (or cubed), then individually frozen, then defrosted and the defrosted liquid GENTLY squeezed out of it, the result will be a firm, satisfying, chewy texture that really stand up to, as you say, being battered about in a stir fry.

                3. <boiling it first the texture become more firm >

                  I think that's correct. It is just the heat. You probably notice when you cook tofu anyway. As you cook the tofu longer, it get firmer

                  I actually don't boil tofu. Maybe because I usually use soft or silky tofu, and I want it to remain silky like. Thanks for the tip.

                  1. most definitely blanching tofu before cooking improves both the texture and the flavor. Andrea Nguyen's excellent tofu cookbook taught me this technique. Herbivoracious has a 'tofu 101' posting which also talks about the joy of blanched tofu