Let’s discuss tofu! I don’t consume a lot of it, even if I’m a vegetarian. When I do, though, I want it to be crispy, and tofu that is crispy is a rare beast. I’ve mentioned this technique here and here, but I wanted to draw attention to it because I’ve received such positive comments.
This tofu is adored by even tofu skeptics. Test it out and you’ll see!
Advice for Making Addictively Crispy Tofu
1) Select the appropriate tofu.
The only option is extra-firm tofu, and I’ve discovered that the Trader Joe’s brand is the firmest of them all (plus, it’s just $2). Additionally, it is organic, which is crucial when purchasing tofu as soy is typically treated with fertilizers, herbicides, and insects. In the refrigerator, near the produce, look for tofu.
2) Remove as much moisture as you can by pressing.
Tofu that has been submerged in water will never get really crispy. The tofu must be cut into pieces before being pressed; this is crucial. Ever try pushing a full block, or even two halves? They merely squat in muddy puddles. To increase the surface area, cut them into more manageable pieces. You can remove more moisture quickly by pressing those.
3) Mix the flour, soy sauce, and oil into the tofu.
All that’s left to do is combine your tofu with a little oil (about 1 tablespoon for the entire batch), tamari or soy sauce (for taste), and cornstarch or arrowroot starch. The starch intensifies the crispiness and addictiveness of the edges (I got this idea from The Kitchn).
Which starch is superior between cornstarch and arrowroot? Although cornstarch is a more processed ingredient, it produces the results that are the crispiest. If you’re adding the tofu to a recipe with a lot of moisture, the outer covering may get a little slick and odd even if arrowroot is less processed and still works nicely (like curry).
4) Cook it.
On a sheet pan, distribute the prepared tofu in a uniform layer. If your tofu cracked a little when you threw it, don’t be concerned. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Boom! flawless tofu.
What Makes Tofu Baked?
Some folks insist on pan-frying their tofu, but in my cast iron skillets, it never comes out good. A tofu tragedy occurs when it sticks and the crispy parts end up adhering to the pan. Additionally, it uses more oil, even though tofu may be made crispy with less oil.
You allow your tofu time to develop crispy borders and warm, pillowy interiors when you bake it. Simply put, it’s the greatest.
Application of Crispy Baked Tofu
Instead of marinating your tofu, I suggest adding sauce once it has been baked to give it additional taste. Why? Tofu that has been soaked in water doesn’t truly absorb flavor very well (something that I always suspected, which was confirmed by Deborah Madison, via Serious Eats).
Therefore, fry your tofu in sauce or sprinkle sauce on top after baking it in the oven until it is perfectly crispy. Any meal that calls for some robust vegetarian protein or that calls for Asian spices would benefit from adding this tofu. It would taste fantastic in either my red or green curry from Thailand.
This tofu might be used in place of the eggs in my Thai pineapple fried rice and kale and coconut fried rice. Any sort of peanut sauce sprinkled on top is fantastic. (Fun fact: My cookbook combines my crispy tofu with peanut sauce.)
Also read: Spicy Black Bean Soup
- 1 block (12 to 15 ounces) organic extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari* or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the tofu from sticking.
- To prepare the tofu: Drain the tofu and use your palms to gently squeeze out some of the water. Slice the tofu into thirds lengthwise so you have 3 even slabs. Stack the slabs on top of each other and slice through them lengthwise to make 3 even columns, then slice across to make 5 even rows (see photos).
- Line a cutting board with a lint-free tea towel or paper towels, then arrange the tofu in an even layer on the towel(s). Fold the towel(s) over the cubed tofu, then place something heavy on top (like another cutting board, topped with a cast iron pan or large cans of tomatoes) to help the tofu drain. Let the tofu rest for at least 10 minutes (preferably more like 30 minutes, if you have the time).
- Transfer the pressed tofu to a medium mixing bowl and drizzle with the olive oil and tamari. Toss to combine. Sprinkle the starch over the tofu, and toss the tofu until the starch is evenly coated, so there are no powdery spots remaining.
- Tip the bowl of tofu over onto your prepared baking sheet and arrange the tofu in an even layer. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing the tofu halfway, until the tofu is deeply golden on the edges. Use as desired.