Pressing tofu is a very simple way to make any tofu dish taste better and improve the texture. Although not all tofu recipes specify to use pressed tofu, it can be applied to any recipe. Some people buy tofu presses which are in the shape of a box and specifically designed to press tofu. However, there is no particular advantage to this as the same results can be seen with some paper towel and a heavy object.
The main advantage of pressing tofu is that it enhances the flavor. The liquid that tofu is packaged in is not as tasty as the marinate or the flavor of the dish you are cooking. Therefore, by removing this tasteless liquid, the tofu can absorb more of the flavors you are cooking with. For this very reason, many restaurants press a majority of their tofu dishes.
When cooking tofu, some people complain about the smell of the liquid that it is packaged in and is therefore a ‘turn off’ to cooking and eating tofu. If this is the case with you, pressing tofu will remove this liquid and although you will still be able to smell it, you will have peace of mind in knowing that you are not eating this smelly liquid.
If you have not pressed tofu before you should definitely give it a go. If you have ever wondered why you are unable to cook tofu like restaurants do then pressing the tofu is probably the reason. However, keep in mind that pressing tofu is mainly for marinating or dishes with a high quantity of liquid.