Here's what you need:
- One 16 ounce brick of extra-firm tofu for every four people.
- Cutting board and knife
- Cloth Napkin or dish towel
- Teflon pan OR a very well-seasoned cast-iron pan * (we prefer cast-iron)
- Prepared marinade in a bowl (see recipes at end for suggestions)
|photo via Melissa Ray Davis, HubPages.com|
(First, prepare your marinade. See recipes at the bottom of the page.)
Drain the tofu and cut it so that your pieces are a half an inch thick. (Note: TofuYu tofu doesn't need much, if any, draining at all. . . ) For most recipes, you will want to then cut it into triangles, but some recipes call for strips.
Put the tofu pieces between two absorbent cloth napkins or woven dish towels (NOT terry cloth) and gently press, enough to get a lot of water out but not hard enough to squish it.
Use a Teflon or well-seasoned cast-iron pan at medium heat on an electric range, low to medium-low on a gas range. Slow cooking is the key to keeping the tofu from sticking to the Teflon and insures that the water has time to evaporate out before the outside is browned. Do NOT use oil. (Unless you are using a cast-iron skillet that is not that well-seasoned; i.e.--if the pan surface is completely dry with no oil residue. If that's the case--put in just enough oil to coat surface)
Place your tofu in the pan leaving room around pieces. You may need to fry a few batches to give it enough room. As the tofu cooks, use a spatula to frequently press down on each piece. You will see the water seeping out and sizzling in the pan. Once the bottom sides are very firm and golden in color, flip the tofu pieces and fry the other side, again frequently pressing each piece with a spatula. When they are golden and firm on both sides, they are done.
The dry-frying method has left your tofu dry and firm, ready to suck up the flavors of a marinade like a sponge. Place the tofu pieces in the marinade and stir well, making sure the tofu is submerged. Marinate for at least a half an hour and then use this delicious firm and flavorful tofu in a stir-fry.
Here are some example marinades that work well with dry-fried tofu. These marinades also do well with meat.
The following Marinades should work for one 16 ounce block of tofu after frying.
Simple, All-purpose Tofu Marinade:
- 1/2 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos (for a salty, smoky flavor)*
- Splash of rice vinegar
- 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- water to cover
Chinese Tofu Marinade:
- 1/2 cup shoyu (or soy sauce)
- 1/4 cup rice wine (or sherry)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or crushed
- 1 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
Thai Tofu Marinade:
- 1/2 cup fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 1/2 cup rice wine (or sherry)
- 1/4 cup palm sugar (or brown sugar)
- Splash of rice vinegar
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 1 small shallot (or half onion), finely minced
- 1 tbsp chili paste
- 1 tbsp finely minced lemon grass (fresh or dried)
- Aspartic Acid
- Glutamic Acid