Let’s face it. Making good fried tofu at home is just not all that simple. Anyone who has tried knows this.
First come the awkward attempts to “press” water from a tofu block with piles of books, bricks, whatever – and using up an entire roll of paper towels in the process.
And then – as a final insult – comes the frustration of having the sliced tofu stuck so hard to the pan that a cold chisel and hammer were called for.
Well, no more. Enter the “freeze and boil” tofu preparation method.
Here I share with you that which took me years to learn for myself; the “secrets” of great DIY fried tofu.
Now you too can fry up some great tofu at home with no more bother or time than it takes to make a fresh batch of fried rice.
- Cooking oil
- Sea salt
Pre-Preparation: (Time: 3-4 minutes)
1. Choose the right tofu. For fried tofu, choose firm (best) or extra-firm regular (NOT silken) tofu. Silken tofu is not for amateurs.
2. Slice and freeze. Drain the block of tofu and slice (across the width) into 5 pieces. Re-assemble the slices together as a block, and wrap snugly in foil or plastic wrap. Place in small Ziploc bag and allow to fully freeze until ready to use.
Cooking Directions: (Time: 20-30 minutes)
1. Remove the tofu from baggie and wrap, and immerse the block in boiling water deep enough to cover the block by 4-5 inches at least.
2. When slices separate and float, remove them and allow them to cool and drain on a folded paper towel. Salt the slices on both sides.
3. In a good non-stick frying pan, heat enough cooking oil (safflower or peanut oil work well) to cover the bottom of the pan. Depending upon your stove, medium to medium-high setting is best.
4. When the oil is hot, gently place the tofu slices into the pan. Allow enough separation to prevent slices from touching one another. Leave them alone (meaning don’t try to move, slide, flip, etc.) until you see a golden brown color begin to appear along the lower edges of the slices.
5. Gently unseat (if necessary) the slices and flip them. Allow to cook until you again see a golden color appear along the lower sides of the slices. Remove the tofu and pat off excess oil with paper towel.
That’s it. The tofu slices are now ready to enjoy “as is” (perhaps with a peanut dipping sauce), OR to be further sliced into strips or cubes and added to a stir-fry or other dish.
The possibilities are endless. Tofu cooked in this manner absorbs flavors like a sponge, and can be refrigerated and reheated with little loss of flavor or consistency.
Rich in high-quality protein, naturally “low glycemic”, and free of “bad” fats, it’s a great choice for anyone who enjoys the best of Asian cooking, or just looking for a healthy meat substitute.
Bon appatit mes amis…