Tofu French fries technique?
How would you approach trying to make an approximation of French fries from tofu? With fat, and a good amount. Not without. (I like tender, slightly floppy fries, not crispy ones.)
So far the most promising method sounds like starting with extra-firm tofu and gently pressing water out, maybe with small cutting board on top for awhile, and then cutting and either dry-frying or broiling to remove more moisture. But where from there? Can I then deep fry the somewhat dried tofu, or add oil to the pan? Would anything be gained by a marinade for this particular use? (Leery of introducing more liquid, given the goal.) Or am I better off using prepackaged "dried tofu"?
If you've tried something like the above and hit on a good approach, would love to hear it. (I've been fortunate in having had some really great tofu dishes where the tofu has a texture on the outside and little moisture inside, in a well-flavored dish. I am not talking about tofu that in any way seems like it could've just come out of the tub.)
Asian groceries sell deep fried tofu in various size and shaped pieces. The result is usually tofu soft in the middle, but with a chewier skin. I haven't found any that are crisp on the outside, but then I haven't had freshly fried.
Well, when I make traditional Chinese deep fried tofu (or 炸豆腐), I take one large block of soft or medium tofu (not firm tofu), cut it into cubes (about the size of large ice cubes), heat up some peanut oil in a large wok to about 355F, then fry the cubed tofu until golden brown on the outside. The result is a golden brown cube of tofu that is crunchy on the outside and custardy in the middle.
Now, if I were to try replicate "french fries" with tofu as a substitute, I would take a block of medium tofu, cut it into long strips, dip in an egg wash, then dredge in Panko, and then deep fry at 355F until they float. You'll get hopefully a nice crunch and snap with the Panko but still have the potato-y texture in the center.
Don't try and squeeze or drain out the water -- it'll be too firm and you'll feel like you're eating pretzels. No need to marinade either, better to just use a soy-ginger sauce for dipping, or maybe even ketchup.
Hope that helps and good luck.
You can use this as a reference to make crispy tofu fries:
The freezing method really works. Follow the first two steps, but maybe increase the frying part to your taste in crispiness. The comments on the recipe also gives some helpful advice. I like the recipe as is and kids in my family like them too.
Thanks all. I will try these. My impromptu test last night ... just using oil to cover in a skillet .. was that extra firm tofu took a long time to get even a little golden around the edges, and spit a lot from water content. I tried dry-frying a few instead, in a nonstick pan. They still had to be nudged to unstick, but got a better finish. Then I transferred those to oil to get a little more golden. I'm hopeful that egg wash and some coating may be the ticket.