My husband is not a big fan of tofu. I mean, he’ll eat it, but it’s not something he really cares for. When we go out for Pad Thai, he’ll usually get chicken, and I’ll usually get tofu for me and the picky 5 year old (who IS a big fan of tofu, much more so than chicken). So when I made Pad Thai the other night (recipe tomorrow!), and he looks at the dish, his first comment was “There’s just tofu in here?” But after watching him going back for seconds, and the comment after dinner of “that tofu was really good!” I think we have a tofu winner here! I tried a second batch on our friends Chad and Dawn, and Chad immediately wanted the recipe — so here it is.
The key here is something called ‘dry-frying’, which sucks out the moisture and leads to a meaty, not squishy consistency. Then marinate it for flavor-y goodness!
Do this ahead of time, then toss it into stir-fry or noodles, or anywhere you like for a quick, easy, and healthy meal addition..
Click on the photos below to view larger or as a slideshow.
How to Make Really Good Marinated Tofu with Dry Frying
Notes: Make sure it’s the Firm Tofu (the kind from the refrigerated section). Trader Joe’s was only $1.99 vs over $3 at the grocery store. And apparently it’s even cheaper at asian markets.
*You can just press it on your countertop, or on a cookie sheet, or any flat surface. I like my small cutting boards because they are just the right size, and easy to move around.
** You can slice your tofu into 1″ strips — or any size and shape want. For this tutorial, I tried different shapes and they all worked fine.
*** More about cooking: Heat up a large non-stick skillet on low to medium-low heat. Do NOT use oil. Spread out your tofu squares (with some space between) in the pan. (You may need to do two batches) Cook the tofu over low heat until it browns. This will take a while – maybe 15 minutes or more on each side… if you do it too fast, the outside will brown before the inside is dried out, and you’ll end up with mushy middles. You’re looking for a light brown color on both sides. The instructions I found for this method suggested pressing with a spatula during cooking to squeeze out excess moisture, although since we pressed the moisture out in the prior step, I’m not sure it’s totally necessary.
****Marinade: For using in stir fry or other far east dishes, any good soy sauce based marinade will work. Try soy sauce, fresh squeezed lime or orange juice, garlic, and honey. Add some wasabi or chili sauce for a spicy kick. Just be creative, and base it off the dish you are planning to use the tofu in. Pretty much any marinade you’d use for chicken will work well here.
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