Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crispy Tofu

Okay, so I know what you are thinking. "Tofu????" Some of you are probably contemplating not even reading this post because tofu is the topic. Many Americans have a very poor opinion of tofu.  It is a food we are not familiar with, it can have a strange taste and texture, and we are used to eating meat and substituting that with tofu is apparently unacceptable.  I can't say that I am a tofu connoisseur by any stretch. I am not grossed out by it or afraid of it, but I really have only cooked with it a handful of times. I use it when I make the edamame, tofu fried rice and combined with the rice and vegetables you really can't even taste the tofu. One time, I pureed some soft tofu along with ricotta cheese for manicotti and I think when I served it to my dad he didn't even notice! Most of my tofu experience has basically consisted of hiding it in something else. What is tofu exactly? Tofu is actually the curd of soybean milk and is a staple in Asian cultures. It is available in different levels of firmness depending on what you are preparing and it is very bland on it's own. Tofu takes on the flavor of whatever you are cooking it in or with. On a health note, tofu is high in protein, low in calories, very low in fat and regular intake of soy is good for heart health.

Tuesday nights Aaron meets up with a friend for dinner, so it's my night off from cooking .Usually I eat leftovers or a salad, but occasionally I use the time to make something I know Aaron wouldn't really appreciate. Tonight I pulled out some leftover tofu from making the fried rice dish. For once I wanted to try tofu with out hiding it too much. It has a pretty soft texture on it's own, so I thought crispy tofu might be tasty.  In my head I pictured a golden, caramelized outside with a soft, velvety center. I looked for recipes and didn't really find anything that sounded quite like what I was picturing. In the end I combined a few ideas together and it was a success! The tofu was golden, crispy and dipped into teriyaki sauce I thought it actually tasted really good. Tofu may not be something you will have on a regular basis, but don't be afraid to try it. I think it's healthy for all of us to broaden our food horizons and try new things. Enjoy!

Crispy Tofu
Serves 2

-1 tbsp cooking oil such as grapeseed oil, peanut oil, or canola oil
-6 oz firm tofu, sliced
-1/4 cup cornmeal (I processed it in the food processor for several seconds to make the cornmeal a finer texture, but this is probably not necessary)
-salt, pepper, garlic powder
-soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, chili sauce, barbecue sauce or any dipping sauce of choice

1. Pat the tofu dry on both sides with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan
2. Season tofu generously with salt, pepper, and garlic. Use other spices as desired.
3. Pour cornmeal onto a small plate. Press tofu into cornmeal on both sides and then place in heated pan
4. Cook tofu on each side until golden and crisp, approximately 3-5 minutes per side.
5. Serve with dipping sauce of choice


  1. Laura, We cook with Tofu all the time. We use it in place of chicken in Chinese stir fry recipes. We saute pieces until golden brown (forget the corn meal)and just throw into the stir fry when meat is called for. Anna's fav is to spread pesto onto pizza crust-place the sauteed tofu on top like pepperoni and bake. It is awesome!

  2. Thanks Bob- I knew you would have some more good ideas for tofu!


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