Crispy Seared Tofu

     It seems to me that quite a lot of people have heard of replacing meat with tofu, but hardly anyone knows what to DO with those questionable-looking white blocks of it that they see in the store.  First, you have to decide what kind of tofu you’re needing.  The soft tofu is good to use in smoothies and also sauces that call for soft cheeses (light ricotta).  However, if you’re going to be putting tofu in a dish and you don’t want it falling apart, you’ll want to purchase the “hard” or “extra-firm” version of this soy-wonder.  What I’ll be describing is how to prepare crispy seared tofu made from the extra-firm variety.  This would be the kind of tofu that would work well in curry dishes, hearty stews or eaten on their own with a yummy dipping sauce.  So, here we go!

Tofu

  • As I mentioned before, you’ll want to start with a very firm block of tofu.  You can find these in almost any major super market near the produce or the cheese sections of the store.  If you can’t find it, just ask!
  • Tofu is stored in water, so you’ll want to drain the water off of the block of tofu and pat it dry with a clean towel.
  • Next, cut the tofu into cubes (or whatever shape you like, really) that are roughly the same size.
  • Using a non-stick skillet, lightly coat the pan with oil (preferably one that doesn’t have a low smoking point– I prefer canola oil) and set the heat on high.  You want that sucker to be good and hot!
  • Once the pan is nice and hot, arranged the cut tofu around the pan so that they are not touching and are evenly distributed.  What you’re going to do is sear the tofu until it is golden and crispy.
  • After a side has been seared, gently turn tofu and start searing another side.  You will repeat this process until all sides are golden and crispy.
  • Once all sides have been seared, remove the tofu from the pan and place it on a towel (or paper towels) in order to get some of the excess oil off– you don’t want your tofu to get soggy.
  • Lightly salt (or season with whatever seasonings you’ll be cooking with) and set aside.crispy tofu

Now you’ve got some great looking, crispy tofu that’s ready to eat, thrown into a sauce, mixed with rice or eaten with pasta!  It’s easy, it’s cheap, and now you know how to work with it.

fried tofutofu patties

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