Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tofu Cookery

No photos again today. Trust me, it's better this way. I'll get the receipts soon, honest.

Breakfast was a cup of black beans (last of the last batch), onion, garlic, lime juice (just bought), vinegar (same), salt, and oil stick blender-ized. this is super yummy, makes a good dip for veggies or chips, a good filing for burritos, but I don't have tortillas, chips, or a desire to dip veggies in.. anything but boiling oil/ water. So I ate it with a spoon. Which was yummy. More vinegar next time, though. And it tastes better than it looks, which is good, 'cause it looks like purple poop.

Dinner was tofu tossed (before frying this time) in flour, cajun seasoning, paprika, salt, garlic. use a plastic baggie or a gladware-type container to hold the coating, dump to tofu in and shake until it's all covered. Also works with damp veggies and small chunks of meat.
That with quarter of an onion, fried in oil with some more salt. yum.

and now, the promised tofu frying primer.

  1. Slice or cube tofu, with at least one side thinner than 1cm. 1/4in to 1cm is best. Thicker doesn't cook as well and has too much flavorless stuff in the middle, thinner gets crunchy and is way more likely to burn thru.
  2. if you insist on thick slabs, marinade the hell out of them. Trust me on this one.
  3. Higher heat is better. you will never get crispy browned sides on stuff fried (saute'd?) on low. Not highest, it'll just burn then. Just closer to high than medium.
  4. Less tofu in the frying pan works better than more. You want each piece to have flat contact with the frying pan, since that's what causes the browning. I try for 1/4 to 1/3rd of a standard package.
  5. Use the refrigerated stuff packed in water. Firm or Extra firm works best. the mori-nu stuff in the cardboard is not what you want. It just isn't.
  6. oil and non-stick pan are your friends.
  7. Just keep moving and flipping the tofu until it's done.
hope that helps. I know, I use it too much. There's other stuff you can do with tofu, but for easy stuff, this is it.

and if you do slabs, after you lightly brown both sides, you can put some lemon juice and cajun seasoning on them and cook a bit more, and it's like fish, only without the fish smell or taste or cost.

oh, and if you get more water out of the tofu before you fry it, it browns better.


  1. Thanks for the tofu info. I love it crispy with rice and stir fry veggies.

  2. I'm sure YOU already know this but others may not - some helpful tips on cooking tofu.

    Helpful tip number 1: After you drain the water, place a dish towel on a plate & then set the tofu on top. Wrap the towel on to the top of the tofu and then stack another plate on top. Your tofu should be surrounded by a towel and then sandwiched between two plates. Set something heavy on the top plate. I use a small planter that is in my kitchen! (You can use canned veggies if you have those.) The weight pushes the absorbed water out of the tofu. I prep the tofu this way for about a 1/2 hour.

    Helpful tip number 2: Bake the tofu at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes PRIOR to stir-frying it in the wok. Baking firms the tofu up, which helps to prevent it from falling apart when I stir fry it. I usually coat the tofu in seasoning before I stick it in the oven.

    Just some ideas!!

  3. @GraceP- help preparing tofu is always welcome. I think most people look at the beige block of it and are just lost. I usually skip both those steps because speed matters more to me than looks in food, but it's still good to know and pass on.