If you're new to cooking tofu, it can be a real problem that it crumbles when you don't want it to. Just know that you're not alone. Cooking with tofu is new for many people and there tends to be a bit of a learning curve.
So how do you keep tofu from falling apart? Following these 5 easy tips and you should be just fine...
Make Sure It's Firm Not Silken
There are lots of different types of tofu and many beginners make the mistake of buying silken or soft tofu without realizing it. This type of tofu simply isn't that durable and is likely to fall apart in the pan or if you're trying to drain it.
Instead, make sure you're buying medium, firm or extra firm tofu. If you want to make sure your tofu maintains its shape during the cooking process. The firmer you can buy it the better. If you're using firm or extra-firm tofu, you can upgrade the dish by pressing the tofu before cooking it so it will be more flavor-dense. For a list of tofu presses on the market, take a look at our top five picks for best tofu press.
Use a Proper Press
Many people have their tofu crumble because they try to apply pressure on it to drain the water out of the block. If you put too much pressure or apply it unevenly in the wrong way, then the block is going to fall apart before you know it.
I highly suggesting getting a tofu press - more on those here - to do the job for you. They are fairly affordable (cost around $20 - $30) and take all the mess and guess work out of removing the water from your block of tofu. Some options even come with containers that allow you to press your tofu in the refrigerator while you're at work.
Bake it Instead
Instead of pan frying your tofu, consider baking it. Baking is one of the most reliable ways to make sure that everything stays together without any hard work. Here's what you should do...
- Slice your block into 7-15 pieces depending on how thick you want to make it.
- Place the slices on an oven-safe tray lined with parchment paper or cooking oil so that it doesn't stick.
- Season with your favorite dry spices on both sides and bake for 30-40 minutes at 350F.
- Pressing or draining the water beforehand can speed up the cooking process and enhance the texture.
Be Gentle in the Pan
There's no reason to be rough with your tofu if you're cooking it in a pan.
Using a spatula that's wide and flat also makes this easier.
If your tofu sticks in the pan, it's naturally going to fall apart when you flip it.
- Keep the heat medium to low.
- Make sure you're using a good quality non-stick pan or that your pan is properly greased throughout cooking.
- Use your spatula to gently peak under the tofu to see how the cooking is going while you get a feel for it.
Hopefully these tips help you make your tofu successfully.