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pan fried tofu

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i was very surprised i couldn't find any posts on actually cooking tofu in this forum. i have tried a few times and it just doesn't turn out well and was hoping for some pointers.
usually i buy the firm tofu to pan fry it. i take it out of the block and place it on top of a lot of paper towels on a plate then place more towels on top along with a pan for weight to get all the water out. i swap out the wet towels for dry ones and rotate the block to get all the water out - i prob only wait 20 mins (should i try longer?).
then cut it up and put it in a light batter of the boxed fish fry mix (i find it easier than flour to keep due to the size of my kitchen).
put a pan on high heat, throw in some oil (i've tried many different but i think i like the peanut oil best) and just fry a few mins on each side till golden.
issues - my batter always falls off and i can't get that firm outside, soft inside i'm looking for.
what am i doing wrong?
also how would i prepare tofu for a thai curry?
thanks!

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  1. For the Thai curry I usually just buy pre-fried tofu.

    1. don't know how heavy your pan is that you use to press, but that method works for me. i use a big cast iron baby though.

      you may also want to try a more traditional batter method and dip the pieces in flour, then egg, then fry mix.

      lastly, not sure what yhou mean by "high heat". your oil may be too hot.

      4 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        its definitely not cast iron because i dont have one - its a frying pan that i press on slightly - so i will make sure to add some weight to it - maybe a canned good?
        your right i prob should give it a shot - i just rarely bake or fry much in general so i don't have a need for flour and cabinet space is limited in my kitchen.
        high heat - im not sure how to explain but nothing burns...

        1. re: pie22

          yes, a big can, like canned tomatoes if you have it. you can buy small bags of flour. store it in the freezer.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I dont try to batter fry tofu - the asians usually just dust the tofu with cornstarch, I think. When I do it I dont use firm tofu - it is never going to get creamy. I use fresh tofu from the tofu store, wrap in paper towels and lay a small cutting board and some cookbooks (or my frying pan) on it. I then cut it into the desired size pieces (or leave whole and cut after) and fry in a non-stick pan in a fair amount of peanut oil - med high temp.
            Make sure the oil is hot before putting in the tofu. If you dont have enuf oil it will not fry properly. I am planning to try the cornstarch dusting the next time.

            1. re: jen kalb

              --"doh!"-- moment on the cornstarch. thx.

      2. Improperly drained tofu is usually the culprit but it sounds like you are doing the job. I'd recommend tossing the tofu in some corn starch, which will give you the golden color you are looking for. But make sure it is lightly tossed as you don't want a corn starch gloopy mess (which has happened to me before).

        2 Replies
        1. re: CreativeFoodie42

          ah yes cornstarch, i will give it a try - can that be purchased in the regular supermarket? where would i locate it?

          1. re: pie22

            Corn starch is in the baking section of your supermarket.

        2. I prefer extra firm tofu because I don't have to coat it to get a nice golden crust. It makes life a lot easier if you use a non stick pan.

          1. try dipping in corn starch, then egg, then crust (i heart panko)....It never falls off or sticks to the pan (eggless mayo works well in leiu of eggs if yer going vegan)