Tofu has always aroused some skepticism and can lead to a huge disappointment if the first time it is tasted it has not been cooked well. Keep in mind that there are different types, with different textures, and that by itself it has no flavor.
It has a lot of proteins and in its firm variety it is ideal to use as a meat substitute, for example cooked on the grill, as a filling for sandwiches or sautéed. The easiest thing is to cut it into cubes and marinate it or cook it with a good aromatic sauce, such as the very tasty tofu in black garlic sauce.
Tofu Pumpkin Broccoli Stir Fry is a good example of how it can be paired with any veggie in a pan or wok, and can be enriched with rice or pasta, as in the Tofu Pepper Stir Fry Rice Noodle Dish. By itself we can also serve it as an aperitif or snack, in small pieces that we will serve with sauces for dipping, such as crunchy tofu with sesame bites.
How to cook basic tofu
Tofu alone seems like a bland, boring food, even unappetizing because of its appearance. But if prepared correctly, it can be a great game and a great ingredient in many dishes, especially stir-fries, soups and woks. This is a basic recipe to prepare an appetizing tofu firm, golden and crisp on the outside, ready to be combined with other flavors.
- 1 block of solid, firm and quality tofu,
- mild flavor vegetable oil,
- a pinch of salt.
How to make firm tofu stir fry
Open the package and dispose of the liquid carefully. Put a wash over the sink or a suitable container and place the tofu block inside, pressing slightly, to get rid of the rest of the excess water.
Arrange two or three layers of absorbent kitchen paper on the work surface. Put the tofu on top and wrap in the paper, adjusting it well. Wrap everything in turn in a clean kitchen towel, pressing firmly. Put some weight on it, for example a packet of sugar, a carton of milk or even some heavy books. Let stand for at least one hour.
Unwrap the tofu carefully. Cut into square or rectangular portions 1 or 2 cm thick, making sure that they are more or less the same size. Pass a piece of kitchen paper over it again, to ensure that it is dry.
Put to heat a good griddle or non-stick frying pan, without any fat. When it is very hot, distribute two tablespoons of vegetable oil, better if it has a neutral flavor. Add the tofu making sure that all the pieces are distributed in a single layer. It is not advisable to fill the pan too much, there must be free space, so better to work in batches.
With the help of kitchen tongs, turn each piece as they cook. They should be very golden brown, with slightly crisp edges. If they have been cut into cubes, each of the six sides will have to be cooked. Remove from the pan according to the desired point. Use according to the recipe to be prepared below.
There are thousands of options for using the firm tofu stir fry. In a soup, stew, curry, salad or stir fry, with vegetables, meat or fish, with rice or noodles, etc. It is best to prepare the tofu as described in this recipe, reserve it and prepare the desired dish, to incorporate the tofu to the rest of the ingredients almost at the end. In this way, it will take in the flavors of each dish without losing its firm texture and crunchy exterior.
Recipe: Crispy Tofu Bites with Sesame
Ingredients for 4 people
- For the tofu: 400 g of firm tofu, 1 L egg, a little milk, 100 g of panko, 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of poppy seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of chopped parsley or coriander, 1 pinch of turmeric, olive oil, salt and black pepper.
- For the sauce: 2 tablespoons of aromatic oil to taste, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon of rice vinegar, 1 pinch of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 small minced chili, 1 clove of chopped garlic.
How to Make Crispy Sesame Tofu Bites
Wrap the tofu blocks in a couple of layers of absorbent paper, place a weight on top and let them drain well for at least an hour. Divide the blocks into two halves and cut each one into squares or rectangles of about the same size.
Arrange the panko in a deep plate and mix with the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, parsley, turmeric and a pinch of salt and pepper. Beat the egg with a splash of milk in a bowl. Dip each portion of tofu in the egg and coat well in the panko mixture. Continue with the rest.
Heat a not too thick layer of oil in a frying pan and fry the tofu pieces, taking care not to overfill the surface. It is better to work in two batches. When they have browned, turn each piece and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper.
For the sauce, chop the garlic clove and chilli well. In a bowl, mix the oil, lemon juice, orange zest, rice vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and sugar to taste. Season the tofu again and serve with the sauce on the side.
These bites of crispy tofu with sesame can be an excellent starter as skewers or we can distribute them in larger portions to form a complete menu, accompanying it for example with rice and grilled vegetables.