how do you drain tofu?

Last night I had a serious hankering for tofu and eggplant. I asked TAM f he wanted to join me,

“At gunpoint” was his response.

His loss.

When I lived in San Fransisco we frequently frequented Phuket Thai in the Haight. The food was sublime. Outrageously spicy, but delicious. My favorite dish was Eggplant Tofu Curry, which I attempted to recreate in my tiny Colorado kitchen.

Since no one else in my world is a tofu fan, I have stopped making the effort to prepare it at home, instead, ordering off a menu all of my Asian food, loaded with curd, knowing that I’ll never have to share.

But, with eating out no longer an option, I figured that I would do it up right – just for me.

When I opened that all-too-familiar plastic carton and sloshed that weird, white-ish, slimy liquid all over the counter I remembered that tofu fries up better with the water drained, and suddenly I recalled (with a shiver) how another chef drains her soggy soybeans…

I’ll get there.

When I worked for Outward Bound in Silverton, we spent 30 days at a time in the field; no showers, no lattes, subsisting on only freeze-dried veggies and instant brown rice and burning calories at an alarming rate. We had three days in between courses to fatten up and feed our cravings and revisit the joys of fresh veggies.

One night, during those three days, we would take a field trip to Durango to grocery shop, maybe indulge in a movie, and enjoy a meal prepared by someone else on a stove that didn’t fit in a fanny pack.

We had our choice and always chose Chinese.

Our restaurant of Chinese choice was a lovely joint that had a back patio and didn’t mind our slightly raucous behavior.

One of the best thngs about mealtime there was using the restroom. Why? you ask…

Well, because the women’s room had two toilets, side by side, hand-holding close, without a wall between them.

No shit.

HA!

Seriously though, when you entered, the sink was on the left, a table with extra paper towels, t.p. and fake orchids on the right, and directly in line with the open door, facing the dining room, were two normal potties, waiting to be used with one roll of toilet paper in between.

So many questions, right?!

But back to food…

I ALWAYS ordered tofu and lots of veggies. This grandma seriously knew how to fry tofu to crispy yet tender perfection. Mouthwatering.

For years, I tried to replicate her skills and knowhow.

I was told to drain the tofu.

I used paper towels and colanders and weights – everything I could think of to squeeze the last remaining liquid from the block of bean so that it would crisp up, not crumble when exposed to hot sesame oil.

The one thing I didn’t try, which apparently is what she did (according to a former employee) was squeezing the tofu in…

The yellow mop bucket.

I’ll just leave you with that.

And I’ll head off to my soggy, squishy, mushy, Mr.Clean-free curry.

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