Many things that are easy to do, are hard to do properly. Tofu is a perfect example of this. Soggy tofu is easy, crispy skin tofu that melts in your mouth is hard to perfect. Homemade tofu should taste better than that produced in most restaurants if you follow some simple tricks.
One key advantage that the home chef has is that the oil used will be very fresh and not tainted though being used to cook other items in the restaurant. Always use an oil with a high smoke point that has a neutral taste.
The best options are rice bran oil and grape seed oil. Second best is peanut oil, but it does have a strong taste.
The other major advantage of cooking it at home is that you can choose the tofu that will work best for your recipe. Also you can prepare it in just the right way for the style of fried tofu you are looking for and love.
This article provides some tips and great recipes for stir frying and deep frying tofu. It also includes a summary of the calories and nutrition information.
As shown by the nutrition summary at the end of the article, frying tofu boosts the calories and fat by a factor of five.
Raw tofu has about 50 calories per 100g; fried tofu has 270 calories. Raw tofu has about 3g of fat per 100g; fried tofu has 20g of fat per 100g.
But in a stir fry the amount of tofu eaten is relatively small.
Fried Pork has 279 calories per 100g and 18g of fat; fried chicken (no coating) has 255 calories per 100g and 15 g of fat.
The tips are quite simple, and they improve with practice:
► Buy extra firm, high quality, fresh tofu
► Blot the tofu pieces fry before frying,
► Make sure the oil is at the right temperature for deep frying (370 degrees F; 185 degrees C) and the stir frying pan is very hot.
► Pan fried tofu is generally crisper than deep fried.
► Flip tofu only when the first side is done (nicely brown and crisp). This generally takes about two minutes a side.
For extra crisp fried tofu try these tips:
► Soak the Tofu in Hot, Salted Water - Bring some well-salted water to a boil and pour it over your tofu. Let this stand for about 15 minutes, then drain. This improves the crust.
► Don't Marinade Tofu - the marinade barely penetrates and the ingredients can make the tofu soggy. It is better to flavor the tofu using a sauce or while it is being stir fried.
► Press the tofu down with a weight - You can do this to remove excess water, but it is easier to buy extra firm tofu so you don't have to do this. It is messy and complicated.
► Drying the tofu properly - Place layer of thick paper towel sheets down on the bench. Lay the sliced tofu out in a single layer on the towel. Put another layer of paper towels on top, and push down well. Further pat dry each piece as it is removed.
Grind all the chilli paste ingredients in a mortar and pestle to make a smooth fine paste. Put the cherry tomatoes in a small bowl, add the chilli paste mixture and mix well.
Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat.
Add the turmeric and stir briefly. Add the chilli paste and tomatoes mixture and cook until the tomatoes soften (generally about 5 minutes).
Add the pork and stir-fry until it is cooked, (about 5 minutes).
Add the tofu and stir to combine with the rest of the ingredients. The tofu won't be crisp, but it will absorb the flavors. Add a little extra water if required. After about 5 minutes the dish will be cooked. Season to taste and serve immediately with steamed rice.
Heat the oil in a large wok over medium heat or a deep fryer to a temperature of 370 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Transfer the cornstarch into a wide mouthed paper or plastic bag and toss 3-4 pieces of tofu at a time in the cornstarch. Only do this just before you fry each batch, otherwise the cornstarch may become gluggy. A very fine later of cornstarch on the dried tofu helps to make the tofu very crisp when fried.
Fry the tofu, in batches or 1-3 pieces only. You don't want the oil temperature to drop by adding larger batches. Turn with a slotted spoon until all sides are a golden brown color and crisp on the outside. The center should be soft. You can ensure this by cutting larger square shaped pieces, rather than slices. Remove the tofu pieces from the oil when cooked and drain on paper towels suspended on a wire rack.
Mix the broth (or water), brown sugar, soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl until well-blended.
Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat in a wok or frying pan. Add the tofu and fry until lightly browned, and crisp on all sides (generally about 4 minutes). Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. The fried tofu as added to the dish, just before serving to retain the crisp skin.
Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and stir-fry briefly. Then, add the red pepper and green onions and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. The vegetables should remain firm and crisp. Add mushrooms and stir-fry for another 2 minutes.
Add the broth mixture and stir-fry until the sauce has thickened.
Finally, add the tofu, stir through to warm gently and then serve.
|Type||Firm Silken Tofu (Raw)||Firm Silken Tofu (Raw)||Soft Silken Tofu (Raw)||Soft Silken Tofu (Raw)||Fried Tofu||Fried Tofu||Fried Tofu|
|Serving Size||1 slice (80g)||100 g||1 slice (80g)||100 g||1 piece (14g)||1 slice (80g)||100 g|
|Calories from Fat||39%||39%||44%||44%||62%||62%||62%|
|Calories from Carbs||15%||15%||21%||21%||16%||16%||16%|
|Calories from Protein||46%||46%||35%||35%||22%||22%||22%|