A tofu Idea

A Tofu Idea


Im looking for help - frank, candid feedback on a new project.

Besides it being a great source of protein, and being healthy, I actually love eating tofu.  

But without initially removing the water from tofu it’s impossible to marinade it sufficiently. It’s just watery and never gets the intense flavors it can get when the water is removed and replaced by the marinade. Without draining the water it becomes mushy when cooked. And remains soggy no matter what you do.

Quite frustrated with trying to find a method to remove water from tofu for most of my recipes, I scoured cookbooks and stores and came up with nothing.  I would use a make-shift setup with cutting boards, or two plates and a stack of books with a makeshift device that would drain into a bowl or the sink.  

The frustration continued as I couldn’t get this setup into the fridge (necessary to avoid the buildup of bacteria.)  Using the “gravity method” with paper towels was always slow, inefficient, and wasteful.  So I worked with my dad to create something better.

We designed a kitchen utensil (patent-pending) that does this easily, quickly and efficiently.  It’s a small tofu press.  (I call it Tofu Xpress!) How it works:  You place a whole brick of tofu in the unit and close it - and the water is pressed out.  

You can press tofu for 10 minutes to overnight depending upon how much water you want to press out, with the most common with the spring I selected is to leave it under pressure for around an hour. In some cases, depending upon the brand of tofu, the brick will press down to 1/2 its height. I want to know what the interest is for such a product (beyond myself).

You then can marinate it, and this allows marinades to sink in. This also avoids the watery mess during stir-frying. The texture becomes firmer. You can deep-fry it easier as well.

My unit has a lid that can be used to seal the container while marinating. It’s small enough that it fits easily in the fridge.

The Tofu Xpress is see-through so you can see it working to gauge how long you want it to press. It’s made of high quality FDA approved materials.

The problem is that it is costly to produce and I am trying to find a way to produce it here in the U.S. and not go oversees. It will likely be priced at somewhere between $39.95 and (ugh) $59.95. I have already invested quite a bit in time and money and now face tough and expensive molding costs to move forward. So before I invest $$$$$, I just want more input and perhaps you can help. I know what I would have paid for one but then, tofu is one of my favorite foods.

Please give me your candid thoughts on:
∑ what method you use to get the water out of your own tofu;

∑ Your thoughts on the usefulness of such a kitchen utensil;

Would you buy one?

∑ How much you think a product like this it is really worth to you. (Please don’t just pick out the lowest price - if it will only sell for really cheap I won’t be able to produce it: I can’t recover my investment and pay my loan back. (While I’d like to sell it for $29.95 that would be the kiss of death to the project because it will fail to succeed financially — so I won’t pursue it.) Your honest opinion is appreciated. Please send me an email to Tofuprep@aol.com. Thanks Marie.

Hi Marie,
I don’t live in the US, but here’s some thoughts if they’re any use to you! :wink:

∑ what method you use to get the water out of your own tofu;
I pour the excess water down the sink, and I wrap the tofu in a few (3 or 4) sheets of paper kitchen towel. Then I leave the tofu for around 20 mins. When you return to it, it’s pretty dry and fries / marinades well.

BTW, if I’m marinading the tofu, I just put the marinade ingredients in a small tupperware, put the tofu in it, give it a shake and leave it in the fridge.

∑ Your thoughts on the usefulness of such a kitchen utensil;
Hmm, it’s certainly useful, and more environmentally friendly then using wads of kitchen towel! It could pay for itself in the long run.

Would you buy one?
Yes, if it was cheap and very compact. I only have a small kitchen, and it’s becoming overrun with machines and gadgets! It also needs to be easy to clean - no little corners for dirt to get stuck in… in fact, if it has some kind of insert that could be put in a dishwasher, that would be ideal!

∑ How much you think a product like this it is really worth to you. I would probably pay around £10-£15, maybe £20 if it looked very sturdy and well made. That’s about $20-$30, maybe $40.

Have you thought about making the tofu press out of wood? A lot of shops here sell high quality wood and metal products (e.g. chopping boards, old fashioned saucepans, etc.) - they look high quality and stylish, last longer than plastic goods, are environmentally friendly, and I suspect they cost less to manufacture! :smiley:

In my country all the tofu that is sold is already pressed and dry.
So this device would be useful only to people that are making tofu at home.

Hi BigBecka,
I thank you for the time and your thoughts. I have considered wood and other materials. Most of them are more $ to make such as glass. Wood would be nice, however, those that have seen it prefer to be able to see it working, ie the longer you leave the tofu in the flatter is becomes. So there would be a tradeoff there. Where are you located? UK?

I am very glad that I have read your post. This really helps me to solve my problem. Hoping that you will not stop posting useful information like this.