Quick and crispy seasoned tofu for all dishes

One of the most common complaints from non-tofu converts is that it's too slimy, lacking in flavour or visually unappealing. Most of the time, it's because they've gone with the "wrong" kind of tofu. As a staple for vegetarians, we've learned to adapt it into many different dishes. After being inspired by one of Gizzi Erskine's Korean fusion dishes, cooking tofu became a whole different ballgame.

Typically we'd used it in stir-fries, marinated or lightly pan-fried as an addition to other things. Using this method you can comfortably make tofu the feature ingredient for a light and relatively healthy meal. 

Quick Crispy Tofu

SERVES: 2 - 4

Prep time: 10 - 30 minutes
Cook time: 5 - 10 minutes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g extra firm tofu block
  • Cornflour or potato flour
  • Rice flour
  • White pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Vegetable oil (for cooking)
  • A pinch of salt

Optional ingredients:

  • Paprika or turmeric

METHOD

  1. Rinse the tofu thoroughly and place it on a paper towel. Sprinkle it with salt to absorb the moisture. Place another paper towel on top, and then place the whole package between two small plates. Weigh it down with a large book for 10-20 minutes, although you can go longer. This will help remove moisture from the tight water packaging, so you can get new flavour into the tofu.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the cornflour, rice flour, white and black pepper in a bowl for your coating. You can also add some paprika, turmeric or similar spice to add a little bit more flavour and colour. (It may disappear into the mix, but you'll see it come out in the cooking). 
  3. Cut the tofu into cubes or strips. The most effective way for this recipe to work is cubed, with the original block roughly quartered. Cut those pieces in half if they are too big for you.
  4. Roll your tofu pieces in the seasoned flour mixture, coating them completely. Tap them against the side of the bowl to discard the excess flour. You may want to lightly rub some oil on the tofu first to make sure it sticks. 
  5. Heat a saucepan on your cook top on high, and pour enough oil to shallow fry the tofu.
  6. Gently place the tofu pieces in the oil, cooking each side for 1-2 minutes. TIP: Place the pieces in a circle using chopsticks or long, thin tongs. If you turn them in a circular pattern, it's easy to remember which ones you've done.
  7. After cooking on all sides, remove tofu pieces from the oil and place them on a paper towel to drain. You can always put them on a plate in the oven on a low heat if you have other prep work to do.

The flavour goes all the way through, leaving the outside crispy and the inside firm but succulent. The great thing about this way of preparing tofu is that you can serve it as the main component, as illustrated below over rice with some sauce and aromatics, or slice it up for a tofu salad.