To make tofu with a satisfying texture—firm with a crisped-up exterior—you first need to expel the extra water in it. Marinating the tofu after panfrying it ensures that the tofu crisps, rather than steams, in the pan. Serve tofu on top of a grain bowl, a bed of hearty greens, or vermicelli noodles with Quick Pickled Cucumbers and avocado.
- Yield: 2 to 4 Servings
- One 12-ounce package extra-firm tofu
- Ginger-garlic vinegar sauce
- 1 cup plain rice flour
- Neutral-flavored oil, such as grapeseed or canola
- Cut the tofu in half crosswise and then slice each half into thirds to create 6 even planks. Line a small baking sheet with paper towels. Place the tofu on the pan and cover with another layer of paper towels. Place another baking sheet on top of the tofu and weight it down with a few cans or a heavy pot. Let sit for 30 minutes. This step removes extra water from the tofu.
- While the tofu is pressing, make the ginger-garlic sauce. Pour it into a shallow baking dish or pan large enough to hold all the tofu in an even layer.
- When ready to fry the tofu, set up your frying station. Put the rice flour in a shallow bowl large enough to dredge the tofu. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet for cooling the fried tofu and have a spatula or wooden chopsticks handy.
- Heat a medium sauté pan over high heat. Pour in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan by ¼ inch and heat until it begins to shimmer.
- Working in batches, dredge the pressed tofu in the rice flour on a large plate. Tap off the excess flour and gently place the tofu in the hot oil, laying it away from you to avoid getting splattered with oil. Gently shake the pan to prevent the tofu from sticking. After about 30 seconds, use a spoon to baste the tofu, gently scooping up hot oil and pouring it over the planks.
- Fry until the edges begin to brown and turn golden, about 2 minutes, and then flip using the spatula or chopsticks. Fry for an additional 2 minutes on the other side, or until evenly golden. Remove from the pan. Repeat until all the tofu is fried.
- Place the fried tofu in the ginger-garlic sauce before serving.