You would think that by my mid-30s, and having been a vegetarian the majority of my life, that I would have tried to make fried tofu before. Alas, it was one of those things that I was scared to make because I had never watched someone make it. One thing I have learned about myself is I tend to do better after watching someone demonstrate, maybe a reason I became a teacher. Although I was intimidated by the task, once doing it, we realized how simple and tasty the dish could be. Kids and adults would love this crispy on the outside and firm on the inside tofu. This is definitely going to be a classic in our house.
I used my Spring Break as an opportunity to research making fried tofu. We quickly decided that it was best to find a vegan recipe, since we would enjoy the recipe with our vegetable stir fry. Of course, no recipe worked with what we tend to keep on hand. I did not want to resort to using eggs, it just seemed silly to introduce dairy to the dish. So, I combined a few recipes for the dish below, and made sure it was consistent with our pantry. Feel free to modify to work with yours!
Fried Tofu (Vegan)
- 1 package of extra firm tofu
- 1 cup of panko bread crumbs
- 1 tb nutritional yeast
- t tb minced garlic flakes
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup of oil
1. Slice the tofu loaf in half horizontally. Then, cut it in half vertically. Cut again horizontally four times. This should make tofu pieces about 1 inch deep and 2-3 inches long. Place a paper towel on a tray, then tofu, then paper towel, and finally a plate on top. Let the tofu press for 15 minutes.
2. Stir together the panko, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and pepper. Once the mixture is even, dredge the tofu through and place on a plate. Once you are done with all the tofu, put in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to help the breading set.
3. Heat oil in a wok or caste iron pan. Heat medium/high**. When ready, place a few pieces of tofu in, and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. Don’t shift it around.
Once the bottom has browned, flip. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. If you need to, keep the tofu warm in your oven at 200, while you finish the batch. Enjoy with fried rice, or any other dish.
*** Please use caution with the hot oil. Some general thoughts, don’t use anything that has touched water when lifting the tofu, or the oil will go nuts. Also, I like woks when frying, because they give depth for the oil, but also give you space to sit back. Turn the oil down if it is splattering.