When I first started cooking for my vegetarian boyfriend Matt, I had absolutely no idea how to cook tofu. It was extremely foreign, came bundled in water and practically fell apart with I cut it with a knife. I quickly learned that there were different grades of tofu based on firmness – soft, firm, extra firm, and even pre-cubed extra firm!
After many failed attempts at making the perfect crispy tofu, I figured out the trick: press out as much of the water as you can. Since I don’t have a tofu press (hoping to get one soon!), I typically slice the tofu and press the water our gently with paper towels. It can be kind of wasteful, but the result is significantly better food for my boyfriend.
Here are some quick steps for making great seared tofu that is tasty and crispy!
- Heat 1 tbsp canola or peanut oil in a skillet at medium heat.
- Take 1/3 block of extra firm tofu and cut into 1/2 inch rectangles.
- Fold in paper towels and gently press the water out.
- Cut the rectangles into cubes and put into skillet pan. (Be careful! The water can make the oil spit out…be sure to cover with a grease screen)
- Let sear on medium heat until you start to see one side brown. Gently toss with plastic spatula and allow other sides to brown (takes about 15 mins total).
- About 3 minutes before you take the tofu off the stove, lower the heat to medium low and add your favorite sauce or seasonings and toss well. (Some of my favorites are low sodium soy sauce, hoisin sauce, Frank’s sweet chili sauce, or Trader Joe’s General Tso’s sauce)
This recipe also tastes good if you saute peppers and onions in with the tofu!
So give it a try…I promise it’s not that scary :)