Welcome to a new feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie (he doesn’t admit it, but he’s a total food snob), coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving father (our dog adores him – as does our son whose favourite toys are cooking related just like his Dad). Who is also seriously into his fitness. Be it bikes (he has far too many) or more recently muddy racing after completely Tough Guy (and getting hypothermia just for the fun of it) in January this year. Oh and he has a bit of a penchant for pink. He will blog pretty much about the above and you can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
How to Make a Tofu Press
One of the nice things about the job I do is that it affords me the opportunity to travel from time to time and in doing so I can sample the food of another land. I’m often in the Netherlands and the thing I love to eat there is Indonesian food, Indonesia is a former Dutch colony and so there is a strong culinary tie between the two nations just as there is with the UK and Cantonese food. When eating Indonesian in the Netherlands the must have dish is the Rijsttafel or rice table. It’s a wonderful array of small portions of many dishes. The dish is uniquely Dutch as it originated in the colonial days when a household would seek to impress visitors with the amount of food they would serve. Indonesians normally would not put on such an ostentatious spread. I’ve often found my tastes challenged and expanded by the Rijsttafel and a centre piece for me is tofu.
Tofu is curd made from soya beans, it’s low in fat, high in protein and takes on all manner of flavours. It was with great expectations I got some in our weekly shop and chopped it up for use with my lunchtime salad. I cannot fully describe how disappointed I was, the firm aromatic tofu that so characterised my memories of Restaurant Blauw in Utrecht was nowhere to be seen and instead I found myself eating something like blancmange that had been in a toilet cistern for several weeks. Obviously I still ate it, but it wasn’t a nice experience and it made me a bit grumpy. I resolved to find out what had happened. After chatting with some friends with experience in oriental cooking the answer was clear, I had not removed the water from the curds leading to the disagreeable texture and dirty water type taste. Simple they said, put it in some kitchen paper and put a heavy weight on it, the water will drain out and your tofu will be fine.
Ha! I said, that’s far too easy and so I set about faffing around to find myself a more technical solution (that would involve the boy and I drilling stuff) and here is that solution.
If, like me, a heavy weight and some kitchen paper strike you as almost a simple solution, read on!
You Will Need
You will need the following:
- 4 x M6 roofing bolts 100mm
- 4 x M6 wing nuts
- 2 x cheapo chopping boards
- 6mm drill bit
- 3 mm drill bit
- 2 x G clamps
- Engineers square
How To Do It
Off we go then…
Start with one chopping board, measure down about 50mm from one end and use the engineers square to draw a straight line at that depth
Do the same at the other end, here I went 100mm to avoid the handle bit.
Then come 50mm in from each side and make a mark on the line for your holes.
Using the 3mm drill, drill 4 pilot holes in the first chopping board.
Use the G clamps to clamp the undrilled board beneath the one that just got drilled, line them up so they are a nice exact fit.
Using the pilot holes in the upper board, drill matching holes in the lower board.
Widen the holes to 6mm using the 6mm drill
Push the roofing bolts through the two sets of holes and put the wingnuts on.
How To Use The Press
Use the press by unwrapping your tofu and putting it between the two boards, then tighten the wing-nuts to apply roughly equal pressure on all sides. Here you want to squeeze the water out of the tofu but not compress it to much, so compress it until it has lost about 25% of its thickness.
Put it in the sink for about 30 minutes and the water will drain.
When finished, slice up the tofu and serve how you like it. I have mine with dark soy sauce and salad.
So, that’s it, for the sum total of £13 I’ve stopped my tofu tasting like toilet water, that has to be a win in anyone’s book.