Make-You-Like-It Tofu

I will make you eat tofu, and I will make you like it.

Haters can bite me – tofu done right is delicious. It’s got that wonderful mix of textures and ability to soak up sauces that makes popcorn chicken and deep fried whitefish so popular with carnivores. 

I’ve found that there are three critical elements to getting tofu to that perfectly delectable spongy-inside-crispy-outside state without having to use tons of oil, a deep fryer, and/or cornstarch.

  1. Freezing
  2. Squeezing
  3. Teasing (just kidding, it’s baking at a high temp)

You can freeze your water-packed tofu (firm or extra firm, typically 14 oz) in the freezer until solid, and then thaw it out. The action of the water crystals makes the tofu bind a bit better, so it’s less crumbly when you take it out of the package.

Place the block in a tofu press to squeeze out excess water, or enfold it in a clean, lint-free dish towel and place it on a plate or shallow dish with a small cutting board on top of it. Weight the cutting board with a heavy object, like a dictionary or a cast iron pan, but make sure the weight is evenly distributed. Let it drain this way at least 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400.  Cut the drained block in half height-wise, and then cut each half into roughly 2″ rectangles, or even (just for fun) triangles like some Asian restaurants do (quarter each half and then slice each quarter diagonally). Toss the tofu pieces in 1 tablespoon rice bran oil to coat them – I do this by hand – and arrange them on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.  Give them a light sprinkling of salt, and bake for about 20 minutes. Flip them over with a spatula and bake for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy outside. 

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