Frying tofu is an art, to say the least. If you don’t know what you’re doing going into it, chances are you’ll mess it up pretty badly. Then, you’ll have a whole pile of poorly cooked, fatty, and – worst – terrible tasting tofu waiting to be choked down one bite at a time. Or, you could try to pawn it off on your friends. There’s an idea for another article – “How To Pawn Off Your Poorly Fried Tofu”.
But, chances are, you’ll never have any use for such a non-existent article. Once you read over this and pick up some quick, easy tips, you’ll be frying up tofu like a pro.
First, you need to be aware of the types of tofu available to you. There is silken, soft, firm, and extra-firm. Silken is the only type of tofu that you should absolutely not fry – it’s far too fragile. All the others can be fried, but soft tofu will hold its shape well when fried, and also have the best texture. Nothing like smooth, soft tofu on the inside of a crisp, fried shell. Buy as much or as little soft tofu as you’d like – any that you don’t cook can be frozen for a later date down the road.
Second, it’s time to prepare it. Cut your tofu to the size that you prefer. Larger tofu will have more white tofu in the middle, smaller will have more fried skin. I prefer smaller, 1’’x 3’’ cubes, as the fried part is delicious. Not the most health conscious approach, but we all have our weak spots.
Third, try to get as much moisture out of the tofu as possible. You can do this by laying out two sheets of paper towels on the counter. Place your tofu on here, and lay down another two sheets of paper towels on top of this. Pat it down on top to give it a nice, smooth application on top.
Fourth, heat up a pan of canola or (preferably) olive oil to medium-high heat. The oil should measure a depth of half your shortest tofu side. Make sure it is fully pre-heated before putting in the tofu, as you want to get as even a fry as possible on your tofu. Gently place the tofu, making sure that they don’t touch each other. Cook for a few minutes until they turn a nice, golden brown. Flip them, and cook on the reverse side. If you’re using chop sticks, try not to squeeze them too tightly, as this will cause water to leech out of the tofu and splash up the oil. Lay them down gently again.
Fifth, take them out of the fryer and place them on a couple sheets of paper towels or in a strainer to let the excess oil drip off them.
Sixth, notice how delicious they look – just like in the restaurant! You can eat them as-is, dipping them in some sort of sauce, or you can toss them into a stir-fry (towards the end, when it’s almost done).
Check out our delicious Agadashi Tofu Recipe for a delicious fried-tofu recipe!
1 package extra firm tofu
3.5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Cut tofu into 12 cubes. Sandwich the tofu between two paper towels and press lightly down on them. This will get rid of excess water. Pour cornstarch onto a flat surface and rub tofu on all sides with it.
Fill sauce pan with enough oil to half submerge the tofu. Bring up to a high heat and fry for 3-5 minutes, or until it’s crispy and golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
In a small bowl, combine vegetable broth, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Stir.
Place tofu on plate and lightly sprinkle with chopped green onions. Smother with sauce. Serve immediately.