How to Fry Tofu

How to fry tofu to crispy perfection in four easy ways! Use this step-by-step guide to learn the best way to cook this affordable yet delicious and versatile protein source!

Tofu is soft cheese-like curds derived from soya milk processing with a coagulant, then pressed down into white blocks. It’s usually sold in stores water-packed in sealed containers or aseptic cartons.

A staple in Asian cuisine, tofu is a very affordable yet delicious and versatile protein source. It has a bland, neutral taste and comes with a range of textures (silken, soft, and firm), making them easy to incorporate in sweet and savory applications.

How to prepare

  • Drain the tofu well. Wrap with a thick layer of paper towels to absorb the excess liquid.
  • For an extra crispy texture, press the tofu to extract moisture. You can use a kitchen tool called a tofu press or just set the wrapped tofu on a wire rack and weigh it down with a plate or bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes until dry to the touch.
  • Cut to uniform size to ensure even cooking.

Four ways to cook

Depending on the recipe, tofu can be pan-fried or deep-fried. To cut down on fat, you can also air-fry or bake in the oven.

Deep-Fry

  • Choose a high smoke point oil such as canola, safflower, peanut, or avocado oil.
  • Use enough oil and do not overcrowd the pan. Allow enough room to easily toss the tofu so they’ll evenly brown.
  • Choose a high smoke point, neutral oil such as canola, safflower, peanut, or avocado oil. Heat and maintain the oil at the optimal temperature of 350 F to 375 F.
  • Carefully add the tofu in the hot oil and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until golden and crisp.
  • Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on a wire rack.

Air-Fry

  • Spray the air-fryer basket or tray with cooking spray.
  • In a bowl, toss cubes with about 1 tablespoon of corn starch to coat.
  • Arrange in a single layer in the basket. Do not overload and cook the tofu in batches as needed.
  • Spray the tofu with cooking spray and air-fry at 375 F for about 15 to 20 minutes or golden and crisp. Shake the basket a few times during cooking to ensure even browning.
  • Remove from the air-fryer and keep warm.

Pan-Fry

  • Use a wide pan to allow more surface area for the tofu to have contact and crisp up.
  • Swirl oil to fully coat bottom of the pan. Heat until oil begins to shimmer and add tofu pieces in a single layer.
  • Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned before turning to prevent tofu from falling apart.
  • Remove from pan and drain on a wire rack.

Oven-Bake

  • In bowl, toss tofu cubes with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. If you want a super crispy texture, spinkle in about 1 tablespoon of corn starch and toss to evenly coat.
  • Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a 400 F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes or until edges are golden-brown.
  • Remove from pan and keep warm.

Serving suggestions

Crispy tofu is delicious and filling on their own, but also makes a great addition to a variety of dishes. Use as a nutritious meal alternative in your favorite recipes.

  • Ginisang Togi at Tokwa-a light yet satisfying veggie stir-fry made with tofu cubes and crisp bean sprouts
  • Lugaw at Tokwa-crunchy tofu make a delightful topping for congee
  • Tokwa’t Baboy-succulent pork pieces and freshly-fried tofu are tossed in a tangy, spicy vinaigrette dressing

How to store

  • Fried tofu are best when freshly cooked as they tend to get soggy over time.
  • If you do have leftovers and don’t mind the softer texture, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  • To reheat, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and warm in a toaster or conventional oven for about 2 to 3 minutes or until warm and crispy.
  • You can reheat in the microwave but the tofu will become soft and chewy.

 

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