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Thursday, September 12, 2019

How I Make Fried Tofu

Have you ever bought a package of tofu only to have it languish in your fridge for weeks, as you ponder what on earth possessed you, that you would buy the jelled white stuff in the first place? Or, maybe you've heard that tofu can be good for your heart, so you're trying to incorporate it into your diet. Or, perhaps some supermarket gremlin slipped a package of it into your cart when you were eyeing the fresh asparagus. For whatever reason, there may come a day when you find yourself in possession of a slab of this soy food.

Tofu is actually one of my favorite foods. I get excited when I find it's on the menu someplace. When we had guests for Labor Day, to my absolute delight, we were greeted with tofu spring rolls. I know . . . call me crazy.

Anyway, if the squishy, jelled texture is off-putting, here's one of my fav ways to prepare tofu -- savory fried tofu. It is easier to make than you might think. In fact, I often make this as my protein source to have with my lunches during the week when I really don't feel like going to the trouble to make myself anything.

The simplified method for making fried tofu

Slice firm or extra firm tofu into 1/8 to 1/4-inch slices (pretty thin).

Heat a tablespoon or two of oil over in a skillet over Medium heat. Place the slices, single layer, into the bottom of the skillet.

Drizzle the slices with a little soy sauce, vinegar, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar, and pinch of ginger powder. Allow to cook for a few minutes (4 to 6-ish), then turn each slice over and cook the other side. No need to season this other side of the slices. Cook for another 4 minutes. You'll notice the slices shrink away from each other as they cook.

Remove from the pan and serve. I use fried tofu with a garlic peanut sauce over noodles or in a veggie stir fry. with the residual oil left in the skillet after removing the fried tofu slices, I saute some veggies or make a peanut sauce. Nothing wasted.

It's delicious stuff and the texture is slightly chewy. Some people marinate the tofu before frying, but I've found that simply drizzling the slices with the seasonings while they're in the skillet works just as well (although they don't look as uniform in color using my method, compared to marinated ones). Even my husband, who normally does not care for tofu admits that fried tofu is pretty good stuff. Last night, I served fried tofu, on top of peanut noodles, along with some stir-fried veggies. It was gobbled up quickly.

My local Walmart sells 16 oz packages of firm tofu for $1.44. 4 ounces of firm tofu contains about 10 grams of protein, so most brands suggest that 1 pound of tofu contains between 4 and 5.5 servings.


  1. While I don't mind it, I wouldn't say that tofu is on my list of favorite things. My sister, who lived in Japan for a couple of years, says that there is a big difference in the quality of various kinds and that can make all of the difference in the world as to whether or not you like it. I haven't figured out that part yet.

    I have never fried it. Does it absorb much oil when you fry it?

  2. Hi live and learn,
    Tofu doesn't absorb a whole lot of oil. I add about 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and after frying a pan-full, there is still enough oil left to stir fry some veggies or make a sauce. Years ago, I would coat the slices of tofu in flour before frying. Perhaps that caused tofu to absorb more oil than just frying the tofu, as is.

    Hmm, that's interesting about some tofu being more acceptable than others. Like I said, I just happen to love tofu. I think because it takes on any flavor that you season it with and the texture doesn't bother me like some of the cheaper cuts of meat. As far as preference goes, I think I prefer "firm" tofu over extra firm.

  3. Since tofu takes on flavors, I thought it might take on oil. Everything is better fried, so I should probably try it that way.

  4. live and learn,
    it surprises me that tofu doesn't absorb more oil than it does. Of course, it doesn't really get crispy, more like chewy. At least that's my experience. But I really should measure the oil sometime and see just how much is absorbed into the tofu. You're right about the flavors. That's why I like the seasonings that I use, the soy sauce, salt, sugar, and vinegar. It tastes like a cross between bacon and teriyaki.


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