Make Tastier Tofu
Tips Toward Tastier Tofu
Choose extra firm tofu.
It contains less moisture and thus can hold up to the pan searing process. If you use extra firm, you don’t have to worry about pressing the tofu but still the sides must be patted dry as described below. The other types of tofu will just fall apart if you try to sear them.
Slice the tofu into large chunks, making the pieces at least 1/2 inch in size.
Thin strips will become tough when cooked, so make large chunks.
Pat the tofu pieces dry on all sides using paper towels or a clean cloth.
This may sound crazy, especially if you’ve spent time marinating, but moisture inhibits the crisping and browning process. It’s the same for any protein you’re preparing to pan sear. By the way, marinating is not necessary, or even recommended, in order to make tasty tofu.
If your tofu is eventually headed into a sauce, you will want to gently coat it in some cornstarch before pan frying.
Put some cornstarch in a bowl and gently toss the pieces, a handful at a time, until all sides are coated in a thin layer of cornstarch. This will give it a protective coating so that it can remain crispy on the outside and yet still absorb some of the sauce once added.
Make sure the pan gets hot first.
Place a pan on medium-high heat and then add some oil and wait until the oil shimmers (almost looks like water rippling) before adding the tofu.
Sear for just 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning the pieces to gently brown all sides.
The outside should be golden brown and that will leave the insides soft and tender.
These pieces are good on their own, but become really good when added back into a stir-fry mixture just after the sauce has been added.