Forget the roll of paper towels and cheesecloth you’ve used in the past, to soak up every drop of liquid from your tofu [trust me on this]! And, you won’t need to fry the tofu only to have it crumble into pieces. This method of cooking tofu will make you a believer in this crispy, meatiness version.
I was never big on cooking tofu, although I’ve been a vegetarian for 38 years — tofu wasn’t my thing! My diet consists of simple foods, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry. I avoid foods high in bad fats, sugars, and sodium — that’s it!
My youngest son, who loves Asian-inspired foods, encouraged me to cook tofu. Although skeptical, I was willing to give it a try. I browsed the Internet to find recipes for making crispy tofu. As a non-tofu cook, I was hesitant. But, the one recipe I found was interesting. The recipe credited Mark Bittman for his brilliance in suggesting that you freeze (yep) and boil your tofu first [who would’ve thought]. The tofu freezes into a block of ice [I know, doesn’t make sense, but it works]. The freezing/boiling process results in a chewy, meaty-textured tofu — brilliant!
The next step in the recipe was to fry the tofu in oil (nope!). I didn’t want to waste time standing over the stove frying tofu [back to the Internet to look for a crispy, non-frying tofu recipe — if that even existed]. Well, what do you know — you can have your crispy, non-frying tofu, and eat it too! I stumbled upon a baked tofu recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant. This was exactly the recipe I was looking for. I combined the freezing and boiling technique with the baked tofu recipe to create the only method I use for cooking tofu. If you’re looking for an easy recipe for crispy tofu, without having to spend a lot of time, below is the method I use:
Remove frozen, extra-firm tofu from packaging and place in a pot of rapidly boiling water for 15 mins.
Place boiled tofu in a strainer to drain any excess liquid, which is minimal compared to the non-freeze method [you’ll have to use a few paper towels — I promise!].
After tofu cools, place on a cutting board and cut into 1-inch thick slices.
In a bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce (I like to use the reduced sodium), and 2 teaspoons of dried ginger (I used powdered ginger). I increased this measurement for each package of tofu.
Place tofu slices in the bowl and thoroughly coat with the oil mixture.
Place coated tofu slices on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees until tofu is crispy.
This is by far the best fail-proof recipe for cooking crispy tofu. I now prepare tofu, using this recipe at least once a week, with stir-fry vegetables. Try it and let me know what you think.