How best to pan-fry tofu


I love fried tofu, but I don't want to have a deep fryer in my home (I'll use it too much!).

I've tried a few different techniques for pan-frying tofu, but it always comes out unsatisfying – too dry, too thin, too wet; I'll admit, I'm not a genius when it comes to tofu, but I'd imagine there is some way to prepare it that will give me decent results consistently.

Note: I do have a large wok, but I generally fry my tofu in a frying pan. I've had poor results in my wok.

Best Answer

For pan frying you probably want to start with a firm tofu. It's a good idea to press the tofu to remove excess water: wrap the tofu in a cloth and place it between two cutting boards, weighting the top cutting board with a heavy book or other similar object. Wait at least twenty minutes (you can prepare the rest of the vegetables/onions for the stir fry at this point.

Once the tofu has been pressed, cut it into the desired pieces. It's a good idea to fry it at medium-high heat in only oil first, then add sauces (soy sauce, vinegar, whatever) only after the tofu begins to brown slightly.

Note: the above won't simulate deep-fried tofu. For deep fried tofu, you may want to use a softer tofu, still press it before using, and coat the cubes in corn starch before frying. Of course you probably know you can deep-fry at home with just a large pot of oil.

For a different texture you can freeze the tofu before frying.

Although not fried, I would also recommend that you try baked (marinaded) tofu to see if you like that texture/flavor better. You would still want to press the tofu, then slice it rather thinly. You can reapply the marinade during baking for more flavor.