“Mmmmmmmmmmm, tofu – not as bad as you think!” What do you think of that for a nifty catchphrase?! Inspire you to start using a bit more of the bland, oddly textured white mush in your cooking…? No?
I remember my first ever real encounter with tofu. It was in Year 7 Design & Technology class. We mad “Tofu Salad” which consisted of ‘marinating’ some tofu cubes in soy sauce & throwing them into a salad. I don’t think I need to tell you that that was not tasty. I realised then why the other girls gave Dawn from the Babysitters club a hard time about eating it, and why labelling a tub of ice-cream in the freezer as tofu really would keep scavengers away.
I don’t think I even tried it again until I decided to become vegetarian, it was much better in stir fries, or as fluffy little tofu puffs from the Asian grocer, but when I became vegan (I am beyond lapsed at the moment, sadly, I am an ethical eating waste ground right now..), tofu really came into it’s own. You can make EVERYTHING with tofu. “Cheese” sauce for lasagne, chocolate cream pie, chocolate mousse, quiche…. but the thing I keep making, and that The Boy is actually glad I make, is Crispy Tofu.
I always talk myself out of making this dish, for two reasons, it requires a clean kitchen from the get go, and it makes a lot of mess. That means I have to clean the kitchen twice in one day. Somewhat of a deal breaker right there.
But, when conditions are favourable, when the moon is right & the wind is blowing to the east, I make this & wonder why I don’t do it more often.
1 block of extra firm, or firm, tofu
Egg replacer, made up from the instructions on the packet to make 2 eggs (I have tried with real egg… it didn’t work out so well for me so I stick with this)
Cornflour – lots of it
Oil for frying, I use extra light olive oil, but I use that for everything
Drain your tofu & cut it so that you have small cubes, approximately 1.5 to 2 cm large – it doesn’t really matter how big or small you make your cubes, within reason, but be sure that they are cubes, they will be easier to fry.
Set yourself up so that you have in front of you; small bowl with “egg” mix, larger bowl or plate covered in a mountain of cornflour, and a large plate with a sprinkle of cornflour.
I like to use one hand to drop small batches of tofu into the egg mix (about four or five cubes at a time, depending on the size of the small bowl) & then move them into the bowl of cornflour, and the other hand to coat them in cornflour, & I recommend this method to you or you’ll have big cluggy gloves of cornflour on before you know it.
Thoroughly coat the cubes in cornflour, rain cornflour down upon them, roll them about, whatever you wish, just make sure they’re well covered, then move to the plate, ensuring they are separated or you’ll end up with a big sticky mess there too.
Once all your cubes are coated, heat about a centimetre of oil in a large frying pan & add your cubes, cook on a medium to high heat, turning frequently (I just shake the pan at random intervals). The tofu will start to brown up nicely, but keep cooking until the cubes actually start to rattle around, hard, in your pan (unlike me the first time, thinking if I made them too hard they’d be yeechy, I ended up with soggy tofu cubes…), that’s how you know they’re good & crispy!
Set aside & add to your stir fry or whatever you like.