I have been using extra firm tofu to make meals, recently. When I go out to restaurants and get, for example, Thai food, I see a much more thinly sliced form of what I assume it is tofu that is like 0.5 inches x 0.5 inches x 1 inch, and has a red coloration along the side, almost like a skin.
Is this pressed tofu, or is it something different? If so, where can I get it?
This link says "Asian markets," but I have checked a few and I have not been able to find it. Maybe it is in a different section than the "regular" tofu.

EDIT Here is a picture:enter image description here

The piece on the left is a "regular" piece of extra firm tofu (even when I press that tofu myself, which I do when I make tofu). The piece on the fork is what I am talking about. It is much more firm than even extra firm tofu and has a different bite to it.

  • You've probably long ago moved on from this issue (pressing issue :-) but there's a significant difference between pressed-at-home firm tofu and store-bought "pressed tofu". It sure looks to me like that thing on the fork is the latter.
    – Pointy
    Commented Jan 27, 2013 at 19:59

4 Answers 4


You've probably seen fried, marinated tofu in those Thai dishes (my best guess without seeing a photo). The red colour would be from a short soak in either chili/garlic oil, or sweet chili sauce. Many asian markets sell tofu packaged in a marinade or breading for convenience.

  • I have added a picture above. The one on the left is fried, but the one on the right is not, I do not believe.
    – skaz
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 16:31
  • 2
    The one on the left is battered + fried, the one on the right is marinaded and likely added to the stir fry. If the one on the right was spicy, it's probably chili oil (and if it was sweet, assume it's one of the sweet chili sauces). Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 23:27
  • 1
    Oh, and more firm may mean more cooking time (so it could be baked first). I often bake (or long fry) tofu to get something with more chew to it. Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 23:29
  • But you don't believe it to be "Pressed Tofu", which seems to be a totally different type of tofu altogether?
    – skaz
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 11:55
  • Pressed tofu is just firm tofu that's been "pressed" in towels to remove the extra water, done to aid in browning (when frying) and to allow the tofu to take on extra marinade flavour. This simple process does firm up the texture, as does cooking longer, and the acids in many marinades. I've never purchased a different tofu to make pressed tofu however, as I just press it myself. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 16:13

Are you doing any pressing of your own when you use extra firm tofu?

If you plan a little ahead you can take the tofu out and slice it into blocks, half a block or a quarter block, then wrap in paper towel and leave on a cutting board with some sort of weight on it. I usually balance a plate and another cutting board on top. Make sure you put it in the center of the counter or back toward a wall so when the weight unbalances and falls off it won't crash onto the floor.

Remove and wring out the paper towel about every five minutes for half an hour.

Once all this moisture is removed the tofu will pick up other flavors much more easily.

  • Yes, I press the tofu myself using this method, but It is still different. Please see my edit above.
    – skaz
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 16:30

The tofu on your fork is a commercially pressed and seasoned tofu, most likely seasoned with a 5 spice Chinese blend. The coloration of the "skin" will vary from manufacturer but look for a "5 spice pressed tofu" the next time you go grocery shopping and you will find it.


In this particular case the tofu you're looking for is likely not pressed tofu as sold in the store, but is just cooked longer as Bruce says. You can buy pressed tofu at an Asian market. It is sold already pressed (and is not in water) and is firmer than extra firm tofu (even after pressing).

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