The Quickest Way To Drain Moisture From Tofu

Pressing your tofu is mind-blowing — not only does it drain moisture from those ambiguous white blocks of condensed soy milk, making them firmer and less watery, but it completely alters their consistency. According to The New York Times, without pressing your tofu, you wouldn't be able to achieve the dense on the inside and lightly crispy on the outside dichotomy of textures that makes tofu so much more than the squishy white blob it's (inaccurately) perceived as. Drying your tofu out by pressing ensures that it maintains its shape and holds onto all of your tasty seasonings without diluting them (via A Beautiful Plate).

But that doesn't mean you will always have time for it. BBC Good Food claims that it takes at least half an hour to press tofu — and A Beautiful Plate recommends pressing it for up to an hour. While hands-free, it's not particularly convenient, especially when you're preparing those last-minute, weeknight meals, and the accumulated stress from the day has your stomach grumbling for something quickly. However, the good news is that you have modern options in these modern times, and yes, I'm referring to your microwave.

Microwaving tofu

When in doubt, use your microwave. It's true for defrosting other proteins in a pinch — so why wouldn't it be true for tofu? Granted, pressing is a slightly different process than defrosting, but it'll still get the job done. As MasterClass explains, the microwave's heat can actually draw the moisture out from your tofu in a couple of minutes. In the case of microwaving your tofu, Andrea Nguyen, instructor and cookbook author, tells The Washington Post that the only waiting you'll be doing is afterward while your tofu cools.

To test it out for yourself, you can start by microwaving your tofu block whole or cutting it into pieces. Either way, wrap your tofu in a paper towel or a clean kitchen towel, place it on a microwave-safe plate, and start microwaving in 30-second increments, checking your tofu in between. Depending on how firm your tofu is, it should be done in a total of 2 minutes. Once it is, you can use another towel to absorb any excess liquid left on the surface of the tofu. You can also give it a gentle press using your hands to squeeze out any remaining moisture.

Finally, allow your tofu to cool, and proceed with preparing it as you normally would — just remember to use starch if you're frying it.