For too long I put up with poorly cooked tofu. For too long I suffered through a plate of old sponge or frog spawn (depending on how under or over cooked my tofu was that day). I think tofu has an undeserving bad rep and the real issue isn’t the innocent bean curd, it’s the BAD CHEF. So, I’m here to pass on my tofu wisdom and tips that lead me from dread to addiction.
Firstly, you’ve got to ensure you’re buying the right variety of tofu for the desired texture. Since we’re going for perfectly crisp, the firmer the better – I use Clearspring’s plain tofu or Toffutti’s smoked tofu if I’m looking for a stronger flavor.
Next is the vital stage that I chose to ignore for way too long until I realised that those extra 5 minutes of prep are SO worth it. PRESS YOUR TOFU. Cut the tofu into your desired size, sandwich it between a tea towel and squeeze the life out of it. The more water you can remove the better the crisp so put some effort in! If you’d like your tofu even firmer and with a chewy texture The Minimalist Baker recommends freezing before pressing and then baking for 25 minutes before frying. You can even boil your tofu in salt and vinegar to give it some extra seasoning, however I find pressing alone does the job.
Now to coat your tofu! This part is not essential but will take your tofu from an 8/10 to a 10/10. If I’m feeling hanry and want food NOW I tend to skip this stage but if you’ve got time coat your tofu. The best coating is cornflour- 100% gluten free too so great for everyone. This will give you the crunch you’re looking for. This is also the stage to add some salt and pepper to your tofu for extra flavor. You can also add dried spices here but I find its best to add flavors at the end due to issues with burning.
The final hurdle to achieving crisp tofu is the cooking process. You can pan fry it; you can bake it but for best results deep fry- lots of hot oil in a pan for minimal cooking time. Add the tofu only once the oil is hot and flip it round once golden and crispy. Once you’ve removed the tofu from the pan quickly blot it dry to avoid a soggy finish.
It may seem like a long process but trust me its SO worth it. The end result is just like the salt and chill tofu you get at a Chinese restaurant, you really can’t beat it!