Properly prepared, tofu is a delicious meat or fish substitute. The emphasis is on “correct”. Since tofu has little taste of its own and becomes slightly limp if prepared incorrectly, here are the best tips so that your tofu turns out crispy and crispy when frying and unfolds its full flavor potential.
Tofu contains lots of healthy ingredients, it is low in calories and easy to digest – making it an ideal source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. At Asian snack bars, tofu is often a crunchy, aromatic treat – but if you want to prepare tofu at home, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not that easy.
It is not uncommon for the tofu pieces in the home-cooked curry to be too soft, somehow rubbery – and fairly tasteless. We will explain how tofu gets nice and crunchy and really tasty when you prepare it.
Frying tofu: tips for a delicious crispy shell
It’s always easier with a little background knowledge – so here are the most important tofu tips at a glance:
- The less moisture the tofu contains, the crispier it will be in the pan.
- Firm smoked or natural tofu is particularly suitable for frying.
- Use a good quality pan, heat-resistant oil and a high temperature for preparation.
Which tofu is suitable for frying?
Natural tofu, smoked tofu, silken tofu, tofu with and without herbs: the tofu selection is now huge. But which “soy block” is good to fry? Natural tofu or smoked tofu are suitable for frying.
Natural tofu does indeed taste rather neutral on its own, but with the right spices it provides a huge variety of flavors when cooking. Smoked tofu already has a smoky aroma. It is ideal for quick cooking and no longer needs to be pickled or seasoned.
Silken tofu, on the other hand, cannot be fried. Its consistency is too soft, it looks more like quark or firm yoghurt. It is good for vegan desserts, dips, sauces, soups, and smoothies.
Frying tofu: The way to crispy tofu
Step 1: Squeeze out the water
To squeeze excess water out of the tofu, you can wrap the tofu block as a whole in a kitchen towel or kitchen paper, weigh it down with weight (e.g. a heavy saucepan) and wait ten to 15 minutes until the water content is significantly lower.
Step 2: Starch
If you turn the tofu in cornstarch (potato, corn or wheat starch) on all sides before frying, you can further reduce the water content in the tofu. Season the cornstarch with salt, pepper or Asian spices for an aromatic taste.
Alternatively, you can turn the tofu first in the starch, then pull it through whisked egg and finally fry it in hot oil. The tofu with egg breading goes well with Asian dishes, where you serve the tofu separately, or with a fresh salad.
Step 3: Marinate the tofu first, then fry it
Now it’s all about the spice! Once you have cut the tofu into pieces, strips or slices, you can marinate it for a few hours. There are numerous spices to choose from: soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, chili, ginger, coconut milk, or fresh herbs.
So that the marinade can absorb well, it is best to avoid adding oil. Because: The oil wraps around the tofu like a film and prevents the spices from penetrating.
Step 4: The Right Pan
This tip applies not only to tofu, but also to most other dishes that you prepare in a pan: A good quality pan that the food doesn’t stick to helps.
Step 5: The right oil for frying the tofu
To fry tofu, you need an oil that is suitable for high temperatures. Sunflower oil, sesame oil or coconut oil are well suited. Olive oil, with its relatively low smoke point, is not suitable.
Step 6: The Perfect Temperature
You won’t get crispy tofu with medium heat. Therefore: Fry the pieces of tofu briefly and sharply at high heat. Turn regularly and keep an eye on the color. As soon as it shines golden brown, the tofu is perfect.
Step 7: Fry the tofu “solo”.
It is best to fry tofu separately, i.e. not together with other spices or vegetables. Don’t add tofu until the very end of your dish so it doesn’t soak too quickly.