I love tofu and am always taken aback when I hear people dismissing it as something just for vegetarians. I recently read a great article from Food52 titled ‘In Defense of Tofu’ that sums up what a versatile ingredient it can be. Well-pressed tofu that has been marinated and pan fried with a flavorful sauce is a wonderful, healthy, inexpensive way to enjoy dinner.
The key is to have well-pressed tofu, something that can be a bit of a pain.
I don’t do a lot of product reviews these days. I pretty much have everything I need in the kitchen so I turn down a lot of offers. But once in awhile something comes along that I think is really cool. And if *I* think it’s cool, I hope that means you’ll find it interesting as well. When Ben from EZ Tofu Press contacted me about doing a review and giveaway I was immediately intrigued. This was a something I could really use.
Below is a phone picture taken last year demonstrating how I used to press the water out of tofu. I referred to it as “The Leaning Tower of Tofu.”
Occasionally dishes would come crashing down. Paper towels were wasted and the process could take over an hour. Compare that with this photo taken a few days ago where I used the EZ Tofu Press:
I think this is such a cool, sturdy gadget. It’s incredibly effective and I can’t believe I’d never used something like it in the past. The tofu is completely pressed in less than 15 minutes and no paper towels are wasted. It’s dishwasher friendly, which I always appreciate. I used the pressed tofu to prepare a recipe for Sesame Crusted Tofu Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing which you’ll find below. The pressed tofu really absorbed the marinade beautifully and the final results were exactly what I was hoping for; a crunchy sesame exterior with a dense, tasty tofu. Can you make this dish without the EZ Tofu Press? Certainly, but this tool makes the entire process easier, faster and less wasteful.
- 1 block extra firm tofu packed in water
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1½ tablespoons black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- ½ tablespoon sriracha hot sauce
- ½ teaspoon honey (use light agave nectar for vegan)
- 1 tablespoon water
- mixed greens
- 3-4 tablespoons roasted unsalted peanuts
- 3-4 tablespoons scallions, sliced thin
- Press as much water out of the tofu as possible. Slice into square cubes.
- Add the garlic, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes and cubed tofu to a large plastic bag (do not add the sesame seeds or dressing ingredients). Seal and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.
- While the tofu is marinating, whisk together the spicy peanut dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Mix together the toasted and black sesame seeds in a small bowl. Dredge each piece of tofu in the sesame seeds (I only dredged two sides).
- Heat a large nonstick pan over medium low heat. You can add a small amount of oil or cooking spray but the sesame oil in the marinade should prevent sticking. Add the tofu and allow it to brown a bit before flipping sides. Periodically swirl the tofu around and keep an eye on the heat to make sure the sesame seeds don't burn. It should take several minutes per side.
- Serve the tofu over mixed greens. Top each salad plate with peanuts and scallions to taste (1-2 tablespoons each per salad is a good estimate).
- Drizzle spicy peanut dressing over salad and serve.