Why Tofu Tastes Better In A Restaurant Than At Home

Stir-fried tofu in hot sauce
Stir-fried tofu in hot sauce - CatherineScarlett/Shutterstock

Imagine biting into a piece of tofu from your favorite restaurant. It's flavorful, perfectly seasoned, and nothing like the bland, uninspiring versions we often end up with at home. This difference in taste is largely due to one key ingredient: salt. In the culinary world, salt is a key flavor enhancer that unlocks and elevates the natural tastes of food. When it comes to tofu, which is naturally quite mild-tasting, salt becomes a critical component in transforming it into something delicious.

Restaurants understand the power of salt and use it liberally to ensure that tofu is well-seasoned. As masters of flavors, professional chefs know that tofu's porous nature allows it to absorb the flavors it's cooked with, and they use this to their advantage. By adding the right amount of salt, they bring out the subtle flavors of tofu — making it a canvas that beautifully carries the dish's overall taste.

On the other hand, many home cooks tend to be cautious with salt. This caution often stems from health concerns, primarily the fear of consuming too much sodium. While this is a valid consideration, it leads to under-seasoned tofu that lacks the depth and richness you experience in a restaurant dish. This stark contrast in salt usage is one of the key reasons why tofu tastes so much better when dining out compared to when it's cooked at home. Thankfully, you can change that by learning to use salt effectively.

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

Mastering The Art Of Seasoning Tofu With Salt

Chef adding salt to food
Chef adding salt to food - Nikola Stojadinovic/Getty Images

To ensure your tofu is well-seasoned and full of flavor, there are several techniques you can employ. One effective method is to add salt directly to the block of tofu after draining the water from its pack. This technique is about more than just seasoning; it also helps to draw out excess water from the tofu, which is crucial for achieving the right texture. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the tofu and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. Before you proceed to cook, remember to scrape off the excess salt on the surface.

Another approach is to poach the tofu in salted water, which allows it to absorb the seasoning. This technique also further helps in removing more water from the tofu, hence attaining the perfect texture. Finally, incorporating sauces is another effective way to season tofu. When you cook tofu, adding a well-seasoned sauce like soy sauce and teriyaki can work wonders. The salt in the sauce will not only add flavor to the dish, but also ensure that the tofu itself is well-seasoned.

Mastering these techniques can significantly improve the taste of your homemade tofu. Remember, the key is in the balance – you want the tofu to be flavorful without being overly salty. With a bit of practice and experimentation, you can bring the restaurant-quality taste to your tofu dishes, right in your own kitchen.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.