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Tofu Frying Tips

Tofu is a super versatile ingredient that can be cooked in all sorts of ways, especially frying. A staple in Asian cuisine, fried tofu is delicious and surprisingly nutritious.

Tofu Frying Tips

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Tofu is a super versatile ingredient that can be cooked in all sorts of ways, especially frying. A staple in Asian cuisine, fried tofu is delicious and surprisingly nutritious too. However, if you don’t know how to fry it properly, you may end up with a bland, soggy dish.  

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some helpful tips to bear in mind when frying soybean curd, as well as providing two simple methods to pan fry and deep fry tofu.  

Choosing the Right Type of Tofu 

Tofu often gets a bad rep among those who aren’t in the know for being unappetizing, but that’s usually because the wrong type of tofu has been used in the recipe.  

Unprepared tofu actually comes in two different varieties, block and silken, and both varieties can also vary in firmness and texture. When it comes to frying tofu, block tofu is a requirement – try frying silken tofu, and you really will end up with a mess on your hands.  

As far as firmness goes, you’ll need block tofu that can withstand high-temperature cooking, so firm or extra-firm will work best.  

Before you start cooking your dish, you will need to press tofu to squeeze out any excess moisture. You can achieve this by using a tofu press or by wrapping the tofu in paper towels then placing a heavy pot on top to slowly press the water out. This traditional method can be quite time-consuming, however, so if you’ll be preparing and cooking tofu a lot, it’s worth investing in a tofu press.  

Kimchi stew
Kimchi stew

How to Fry Tofu 

Most fried tofu dishes require the soybean curd to be either deep-fried or pan-fried, such as in stir fry recipes.  

Frying tofu is super-fast and easy when you follow the step-by-step methods below.  

Basic Pan-Fried Tofu 

This will be your go-to method of preparing tofu if you want to put together a delicious and effortless stir-fry meal. This method doesn’t involve deep-frying, and while it won’t give you crispy and crunchy tofu, it will still yield tasty and moreish tofu that will be perfect when added to noodles and veggies.  

Ingredients 

  • 1 x 14-16 oz block extra-firm or firm tofu (pressed)
  • 2 x tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
  • ½ x tsp salt

Instructions  

1. Once the tofu has been pressed and thoroughly drained of all moisture, cut into 1-inch cubes. 

2. Heat a wok pan or a large skillet pan over high heat. 

3. Pour the oil into the pan, starting at the side and then swirling to coat the base of the pan evenly.  

4. Add the tofu to the pan and cook for appx. 1 minute until the bottoms become golden brown.  

5. Sprinkle with salt, then continue to fry the tofu for a further 1 minute, gently moving the tofu around to ensure all sides cook fully.  

6. Transfer to a dish and serve with your chosen recipe.  

Marinated tofu
Marinated tofu

Easy Deep-Fried Tofu 

Aka yellow tofu or fried bean curd in Asian countries, deep-fried tofu is as much a delicacy in its own right as it is the ultimate addition to rice, noodle, and salad dishes.  

Surprisingly, deep-fried tofu is also healthy since it doesn’t absorb much of the oil during the frying process. A 100g serving following the method below will contain around 190 calories, 11g of fat, and at least 12g of protein.  

Ingredients 

  • 1 x 16 oz block extra-firm or firm tofu (pressed)
  • 4 x cups canola oil or another neutral oil (vegetable/soybean)

Instructions 

1. After pressing the tofu block, cut into four evenly-sized cubes 

2. Pour the oil into a deep, medium-sized saucepan. Heat to approximately 360 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a chopstick or wooden spatula to check the temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, dip into the oil, and if it bubbles around it, the oil is ready for frying.  

3. Transfer one cube of tofu into the hot oil and fry for 3 minutes, flipping once. Remove when the tofu is golden brown.  

4. Use a fish slice to transfer the tofu to a paper-towel-lined plate.  

5. Repeat for the remaining cubes, only frying one cube per time.  

6. Serve in your chosen recipe, or transfer the fried tofu to an airtight container. It will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  

Gado gado
Gado gado

Final Tips for Frying Tofu  

  • Don’t fry the tofu for too long. When the tofu turns golden brown in color, remove it from the pan and drain using paper towels to remove excess oil. Tofu that has been over-fried will become hard and flavorless.
  • Always make sure you flip your tofu halfway through cooking.
  • To increase the crispness of shallow-fried tofu, dust it lightly with cornstarch first before frying.
  • Don’t be afraid to use oil! Hot oil is what gives fried tofu that much-desired coating, so make sure you use at least a couple of tablespoons even when stir-frying.

Once you’ve started frying tofu, you’re bound to become addicted! As well as tasting fantastic in stir-fries and on its own, you can add fried tofu to sandwiches and wraps, or even in noodle soups as crunchy tofu croutons. 


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