The tricks you need to make baked tofu extra crispy on the outside, and pillowy soft on the inside.
It’s Healthy Kitchen Hacks Wednesday – the day we share our favorite time-saving kitchen tricks and cooking shortcuts to help you make healthy and delicious meals.
Now…onto today’s featured Healthy Kitchen Hack:
How to Make Baked Tofu Extra Crispy
I took the kids to a Chinese restaurant a while back and they ate platefuls of crispy fried tofu. That got me thinking: Is there a really good way to make oven-baked tofu that’s extra crispy like deep-fried tofu?
I perfected most of this technique after researching an article, Pressing Tofu I wrote for Food & Nutrition Magazine. In that article, I suggested quickly pan-frying, then baking on a preheated baking sheet. But recently, I even figured out a way to cut out the whole pan frying step – and still get extra-crispy tofu on the outside with soft pillowy insides. Here’s a look at all the steps:
1. Cut tofu block vertically into five pieces. The first step to getting crispy tofu is to press out much of the moisture. If you press five smaller pieces instead of one big condensed block, you can remove more moisture.
2. Press tofu 10-30 minutes. You’ll need something heavy, like a cast iron skillet or several canned goods to squeeze out tofu water. Wrap the tofu in a layer of paper towels then a kitchen towel. Ten minutes of pressing is fine, 30 minutes is better.
3. Cut into squares. Slice each of the five pieces horizontally in half and then into five pieces for a total of 50 squares. Place in a bowl.
4. Combine cornstarch (or arrowroot) with spices and sprinkle on tofu. I added curry powder and salt to the cornstarch and used a mesh strainer to sprinkle it on the tofu. (The strainer leads to more even cornstarch covering, as I learned from The Kitchn.)
5. Pour oil onto a preheated baking sheet. Spread oil evenly by tipping the pan (holding the pan with an oven mitt.) Shake tofu onto hot pan, toss in oil to coat using a metal spatula, then immediately place pan back in the oven. (Delaying this may cause the tofu to stick.)
Extra Crispy Baked Tofu
The tricks you need to know to make extra crispy baked tofu: crisp on the outside, while pillowy-soft on the inside.
- 1 (14 ounce) block extra-firm tofu
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
Cut tofu block vertically into five rectangle pieces. Wrap tofu in a layer of paper towels, then a kitchen towel. Place beneath a heavy pan or tin cans. Press 10-30 minutes. With dry towels, blot the outsides of tofu dry.
Meanwhile, place a large rimmed baking sheet into oven and preheat to 400-degrees.
After the tofu has been pressed (10-30 minutes), slice each of the five pieces horizontally in half, and then into five pieces for a total of 50 squares. Place into a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine curry powder, cornstarch (or arrowroot) and salt. Through a mesh strainer, sprinkle half of cornstarch mixture over the bowl of tofu. Gently toss the tofu using two spoons, so cornstarch covers evenly. Sprinkle remaining cornstarch over tofu and toss gently.
Remove hot baking sheet from oven and pour on oil. Spread oil evenly by tipping the pan (holding the hot pan with an oven mitt.) Shake tofu onto hot pan, toss in oil to coat using a metal spatula, and immediately place pan back in the oven. Bake 20-25 minutes until outside is crispy. Don’t bake too long or tofu will get tough.
Do you do tofu?? (: What’s your favorite tofu recipe?