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Aug 7, 2012 09:30 AM

Fried Tofu

I tried vegan for 14 days in April and never felt better. I don't eat meat but love cheese and seafood. Going vegan is truly a lifestyle which I doubt I can nor want to commit. Having said that, I want to cut out cheese soon and eat more tofu. I do LOVE tofu mostly for breakfast with a scramble melange. I also LOVE fried tofu but it spatters so much I dread cooking due to the clean up. I press it dry with a towel, season well and fry on each side sufficiently. Is there another way to prepare to avoid the oil spatter?

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  1. Are you using firm tofu? Often, you will see three kinds of tofu for sale: soft, regular and firm. The firm is lower in water content, and is more suited for frying. I also slice the tofu in advance, spread it out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, and salt it. The salt draws additional water out. This is just an hour before, but it won't hurt to let it sit longer. When I fry it, I am also not deep-frying it, but sauteing it. I dredge the slices in a little cornstarch or flour but no eggs. I am careful not to crowd the pan since this lowers the temperature, and I am not using that much oil.

    My guess is that when you season it, you are using salt and pepper. The pepper would dry the surface of the tofu, which is good, but the salt is probably drawing some of the liquid into the pan. Either salt it an hour before or salt it immediately after pan-frying it.

    By the way, another way to draw the moisture out of the tofu is to microwave it first. I've done this if I didn't have any firm tofu on hand.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Dovid

      Thanks Dovid. I use firm, let it sit 5 minutes, saute and definitely am crowding the pan. That's a good tip. I use salt and sometimes some other spices. I don't own a microwave.

      1. re: Dovid

        I press my tofu on a cookie sheet. Blot the brick dry, slice into cutlets or strips. Arrange on a cookie sheet lined with a clean dish towel. Place another towel on top of the tofu and finish with another cookie sheet. Place some heavy cans and let it sit. The longer the better.

        Definitely do not crowd the pan, or it'll steam and get soggy.

        Im going to try salting tofu next time I prepare it. Does the salt make the tofu salty? Should I cut out some salt from the recipe I'm using?

      2. I usually press the entire block before cutting by wrapping in a towel and weighting it with a big book or a heavy pot, or something that won't break the curd...but will expel the moisture. The less moisture available, the less popping...

        1. Do you have a spatter guard? Those things are great, and you can buy them just about anywhere.

          1. You may to experiment with deep frying. With good tofu, a saucepan, and a stem thermometer you can get restaurant quality fried tofu.

            I use very firm tofu and don't experience much spattering. I think steep sides on the pan help. It does make the place smell like cooking oil though.

            1. Freezing and defrosting firm or extra firm tofu gives it a more substantial texture.

              After the tofu defrosts try to gently squeeze excess water out of the tofu and slice into thee sheets and place in a plate layered with paper towels, cover with more paper towels and place an inverted plate on top then place a filled tea kettle or something else heavy over the top and let sit for 30 minutes.

              I will cut into 1/2 inch squares and place in a mixing bowl to marinade with whatever sauce and seasonings. I like soy, ginger, lime, garlic etc.

              Tofu can then be fried, added to a stir fry or roasted in the oven.