Tofu that’s crispy on the outside and soft in the middle will elevate any dish. Keep reading to learn six tips on how to make crispy tofu at home.
There are several health benefits of tofu, including the fact that it’s a great source of B vitamins and packed with protein – fourteen grams of protein per hundred grams. Fairly mild in flavor, when prepared properly, tofu can act as a sponge to soak up a flavorful marinade. Always be sure to buy local, organic tofu, and pay attention to the where the soy beans were grown to support responsible agriculture.
The only problem is that many people aren’t quite sure how to get the best from this ingredient. Have you ever tried to make a dish featuring crispy tofu only to bite in to something soft and waterlogged? It can be pretty disappointing. If you follow these six tips to make delicious tofu that will be tender on the inside an crisp on the outside. Whether you choose to follow all the tips, or just a few, your tofu will be more crispy than if you just cooked it straight out of the package.
1. Choose Firm Tofu
Choosing the correct tofu variety for the purpose will help to get the best results when making crispy tofu. If you are making a vegan cheesecake, silken tofu would give the best result as it has a higher water content and has a very smooth texture. For the best crispy tofu, firm or extra firm tofu is necessary.
Because firm tofu is more densely packed as has a lower water content, you can slice or dice it in to a variety of shapes and it will be able retain its form throughout cooking. Even if you only seasoned firm tofu with a little salt and pepper and then pan fried it, it would give a more crispy result than using medium or silken tofu, which would likely turn in to a vegan scramble — delicious, but not what we are looking for.
2. Freeze Your Tofu
Not only does freezing tofu mean that you can reduce your potential food waste, it is also a great way of changing the texture of the protein. It becomes more firm, and more chewy and will be a great starting point for making crispy tofu.
As the frozen tofu thaws, the water drains out and leaves small air pockets behind, which helps to allow marinades to soak in better. After the tofu has thawed, you can either pat it dry using a clean tea towel season and cook, or you could press it to remove even more water.
3. Press Tofu To Make Your Tofu Crispy
Even if you are able to source package-free tofu, it will have been stored in water to keep it fresh. Once you have purchased your firm tofu the best way to make it crispy is to press out the excess water. Many sites recommend using paper towels when pressing tofu, however those single use paper products aren’t recyclable and there are plenty of sustainable paper towel alternatives for you to choose from.
First, remove the tofu from the packaging and shake off any excess water. Next, wrap it in something absorbent, such as a clean, lint-free cotton tea towel. Place it on a plate, and then set something flat and stable on top, like a cast iron skillet, cutting board, or recipe book. Place a few cans on top of this and leave for thirty minutes. Carefully remove the items, unwrap the tofu and prepare.
If you eat tofu regularly, it might be worthwhile to invest in a tofu press. They can be found either in Asian grocery stores. Some are eco-friendly and made from bamboo, such as this one from ToPress available on Amazon**.
4. Use Cornstarch
Once you have pressed your firm tofu, it’s time to prepare it! Simply slicing, seasoning, and cooking it would give it a bit of a crunch, but using cornstarch will achieve really crispy tofu. To elevate your dish even further, season your cornstarch by using any spice combination that goes well with the recipe that you are making the tofu for. Seasoned crispy tofu works well on a flame-grilled flat bread, mixed with fresh organic veggies and homemade vegan sriracha mayo or as part of a vegan poke bowl.
5. Using A Batter Will Make Crispy Tofu
Depending on the recipe, battering your tofu could be the best way to make it nice and crisp. This would work best for vegan southern-fried tofu, or for a battered crispy tofu to go with vegan chop suey.
After pressing firm tofu, you could marinade it, dip it in a plant-based wet batter, then in to either seasoned flour or bread crumbs. For best results, deep-fry. Check out this mushroom calamari recipe for information on using a wet and dry batter. Try switching out the flavors with some of these ideas to season tofu.
6. Choose Your Cooking Method
So you’ve chosen a firm tofu, you’ve drained the water out by pressing it, it’s been diced, seasoned and floured. Now you need to cook it. You can cook it any way that you want, but each method gives a slightly different result. However, pan-frying is more eco-friendly as it uses less energy than baking in the oven. It also requires much less oil and is healthier than deep-frying.
Pan-frying is quick, doesn’t require too much oil and is very easy to control. Add a few tablespoons of neurtal cooking oil in to a skillet over medium-high heat and add the prepared tofu pieces. Stir occasionally and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until it’s as crispy as you want!
Baking your tofu has its benefits. You don’t have to use as much oil to achieve a crisp outside, and there is less of a chance of the crispy parts getting stuck and not making it in to your mouth, but it does take longer than frying and will use quite a lot of energy. Make the most of the energy by baking more than one thing at a time.
Lay the tofu out on a baking sheet – there’s no need to use parchment paper. Bake at 375°F for 20-45 minutes, depending on the size of your tofu pieces. There is no need to preheat the oven, but you will need to turn the pieces over half way through
Deep frying is the least healthy option, but it is the cooking method that will give you the crispiest tofu when using a wet batter or breadcrumbs. Heat a few cups of oil in a high sided pan and heat to 350°F. Carefully add the battered tofu pieces and cook for 3-5 minutes, turning them over half way through. Remove, gently shake off the excess oil and enjoy while hot.
- Vegan Spanikopita: A Tasty, Plant-Based Recipe
- Congri Rice: How To Make Vegan Arroz Congri
- Can You Fry With Olive Oil? What To Watch Out For
Do you like this post?