Here’s How to Get Perfect Restaurant-Style Tofu at Home

published Mar 16, 2020
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If you’ve had really great tofu, you know that it is a complete game-changer: perfectly golden on the outside, wildly soft and spongey on the inside, with the most amazing ability to soak up the sauce without getting soggy. It feels like a tiny miracle — and you can 100% make it at home.

There are a few tricks to perfect tofu. First, tossing cubed tofu with cornstarch will help you get a crispier exterior when baking or stir-frying. Pressing the block of tofu to eliminate excess moisture also helps. And you’ll want to make sure you’re using high enough heat. However, there is one trick that basically guarantees success.

Freeze Tofu First for Perfect Texture

The key to getting restaurant-style tofu texture at home is your freezer. Yes, freezing tofu is the very best strategy for cooking up perfectly soft, chewy tofu that soaks up sauce like a sponge.

As mentioned above, pressing tofu is essential for removing liquid. But no matter how long you press that block of tofu or how much weight you pile on top, it still seems to hold onto a lot of water. When you freeze the tofu overnight, and then thaw it at room temperature, all of the water basically pours right out — no extra pressing necessary.

The Best Method for Freezing Tofu

While you can freeze any variety of tofu, extra-firm is the best option when you want to replicate the texture of the tofu from your favorite Chinese place. First, you’ll want to cut the tofu. Take your pick between cutting it into cubes, triangles, slabs, or just tearing it into pieces. Place the tofu pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then store in a freezer bag or container until you’re ready to use. Thaw the tofu at room temperature before cooking.