I have never loved tofu. It’s bland, and I’m not crazy about the texture. Of course, its blandness is a virtue, in that it takes on pretty much any flavor, and it does serve as a good vegetarian source of protein. As for the texture issue, I have found that firm sprouted tofu is best for my particular tastes. Although (fortunately for me!) Nora loves her tofu simply cubed and coated with wheat germ, I need to do a little more prep work for my grown-up palate.
When I do eat tofu, it’s usually in a stir fry. After trying many different methods, I’ve discovered the best way to cook it so that it comes out crispy, golden brown, and perfect: pan-frying. I’m pretty sure I’ll never try another way of cooking tofu again, so I’m happy to share the recipe in hopes that I can convert some other non-tofu eaters.
I never really use a recipe for stir fry, since I just throw in whatever appropriate veggies I have around, make a quick sauce using soy sauce, vinegar, and maybe a couple of other ingredients, serve it on top of rice and call it a day. My last stir fry was comprised exclusively of vegetables from Full Circle Farm, a fact of which I am pretty proud!
My basic method for stir fry these days is to fry the tofu using the recipe below, take it out to drain on paper towels, and then stir fry my veggies, throwing the tofu and sauce in at the end. This time, I used mizuna, kohlrabi, bok choy, leeks, carrots, and (of course) fried tofu, with a sauce of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, a touch of toasted sesame oil, and a pinch of brown sugar.
It made a lovely, quick dinner. I love stir fry because once the veggies are chopped, it takes only a few minutes to have a meal on the table.
Sure, tofu prepared this way is not exactly health food, but a little extra oil is fine when added to such a healthy dish, in my humble opinion, especially when it improves the taste so much. Try it — you’ll like it!
1 14-oz package of firm tofu, drained
2 Tbs canola oil
Cut the tofu crosswise into 1/2-inch slices, then cut each slice in half. Arrange cut pieces on a thick layer of paper towels, and cover with another couple of layers of paper towels. To press the moisture out, place a heavy object on top* and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the tofu and cook on one side without moving until browned, 3-5 minutes. Flip with tongs and cook on the other side. Remove to new paper towels to drain. Add to your favorite stir-fry at the end of cooking, along with the sauce, and enjoy!
* An old law school textbook is ideal, if you have one lying around. My favorite choice is Contracts.