Wondering how to figure out when your tofu is done cooking? I know, if you're new to cooking with tofu, it can be quite confusing.
In this article you'll learn...
- Why it doesn't really matter how long you cook tofu.
- Different textures you can cook it to and what that looks like.
- Tips for nailing the perfect texture.
Let's get started.
Because tofu is already cooked when you get it in the package, you can cook it as long or as short as you want.
It really all depends on how you would like the texture.
There's no official way to know when it's done, other than when it's the way you like it.
Let me give some examples...
Light and Fluffy Tofu
If I'm making a tofu scramble (a replacement for scrambled eggs), I'm going to want the final texture of the tofu to be on the light and fluffy side.
Therefore, I'll crumble the tofu and cook it just enough to where it's fluffy, but not too mushy.
The tofu keeps this texture because it's still got some water content.
You know it's done when it looks just scrambled eggs!
On the other hand, if I'm making a crispy tofu, I'll cook it until it's that texture. There are two ways to do this.
- The first way is to drain and dry the tofu and fry it up in a thick layer of oil.
You can cut up the tofu any way you'd like for this. Just make sure it's cut thick enough so that it doesn't disintegrate.
When the outside is crispy and golden brown, that's how you know when it's done. Add it to a stir fry or season it however you'd like.
- The second way to make crispy tofu is to dehydrate it in the oven without oil.
All you need to do is cut the tofu into thin slices and season it however you'd like. Then, place it in the oven at a low temperature (around 325).
After about 45 minutes to an hour, most of the moisture will evaporate from the tofu. When it's done, you'll be left with a chewy and slightly crunchy skin, similar to jerky.
Another way to enjoy tofu is by eating it raw, but many people will find the flavor a bit off-putting.
Important Note: Tofu is never actually "raw" because it's made from cooked soy milk.
The best way to eat tofu raw is to marinade or brine it so it takes on a different flavor.
People also enjoy it in miso soup.
First, it's important to press the original water out of the tofu. This will give it room to absorb oils and seasonings.
Then you can add oil, vinegar, and whatever other flavors/seasonings you want the tofu to take on.
You know it's done when it's got the flavor that you're looking for. This can take a few hours or a few days of marinading.
Tips For Mastering Tofu Texture
As I've mentioned quite a few times, getting the water out of tofu is the best way to give it the best texture and flavor.
Draining the water also helps it crisp up quicker in the oven because there is less water that needs to evaporate.
There are a few different ways to accomplish this.
First, is to use a homemade tofu press as seen in our guide to pressing and draining tofu. This works if you're in a pinch, but can be kind of messy and inconvenient.
Pro Tip - Get a Tofu Press!
The best way is to buy a tofu press. I personally use my EZ Tofu Press at least one a week. The ease of setup and cleaning really trump setting up my own home contraption every time I want to make tofu.
As you've probably summed up by now, tofu is done whenever you want it to be!
There are so many different techniques to cooking and eating tofu, the possibilities are near endless.
If you want to learn more about tofu -- check out the articles below...