If you are looking for some quick vegan side dish or some easy tofu recipe for dinner, then this 10 minutes crispy tofu is just perfect for you.
This crispy tofu is a pan-fried tofu dish with an alternative of baked crispy tofu recipe. These are quick and easy to make. This is a versatile dish that pairs up in many dishes or simply you can have them as appetizers.
What is Tofu?
Tofu is a soy product. Soy milk is coagulated and curd (after separating from the whey) is finally pressed to shape it. The making is similar to that of cottage cheese making. This is rich in protein and one of the healthiest food if you are targeting some weight loss. Soy products are rich in protein (plant-based protein) and these are the best dairy alternatives.
Since this resembles paneer or Indian cottage cheese, this is also known as vegan paneer or vegan cottage cheese. Also, this is a versatile product that goes well in curry (e.g. Thai red curry), in salads, in your buddha bowl, and whatnot.
What is the best way to cook the tofu crispy?
Tofu itself does not have any taste. It's very bland if you taste raw tofu. It absorbs the flavor from marination or gravy where it is used.
For best tofu recipes, the first step is to press the tofu block or pieces and remove the excess flavorless water and this adds more space to absorb the marination flavor. This takes 10 minutes extra for removing excess liquid from the tofu brick but it's an essential part of cooking tofu perfect.
The other benefit of pressing the tofu is the firmer end product which means it will be more crispy, softer, & chewy. It will absorb more flavors.
(Read more about plant-based protein sources for vegans.)
How to make crispy tofu in 2 ways (pan-fried & baked)?
This is a quick tofu recipe that takes hardly 10 minutes. You may either saute the tofu cubes or bake them as per your choice. In both ways, it will be equally delicious.
Extra-firm Tofu: - While choosing tofu for this the only choice is extra firm tofu. Otherwise, it will not be as crispy and good as this tofu.
Tamari/ soy sauce:- Take tamari for gluten-free or soy sauce for marination.
Garlic Powder & Onion Powder - Garlic powder and onion powder add flavor to the tofu. add to the tamari while marinating. Salt is not required as tamari/ soy has some salt in it. Otherwise, season with salt to taste.
Cornstarch/ Arrowroot - This is for the coating of marinated tofu. This makes the tofu crispy. Cornstarch is a better option for crispier tofu than the later one.
Olive Oil - Even if it's baking or sauteing, olive oil is the best option and healthy also.
Method of Preparation:
Step 1 - Press the tofu block to get rid of excess liquid from it. Don't press very hard to break. Then slice to desired size, preferably bite-sized cubes.
Step 2 - Make a mixture of marination with tamari/ soy and onion, garlic powder. Marinate the tofu cubes for 5 minutes.
Step 3 - Take out tofu to a mixing bowl and toss it with cornstarch or arrowroot. I have taken corn starch as this makes crispier ones.
Step 4 - Bake or Saute the tossed tofu.
Pan-fried Tofu Saute
Saute:- Heat oil in a pan. Saute the marinated and coated tofu cubes till it turns brown.
Baked Crispy Tofu
Bake:- Preheat oven at 350F. Spread parchment paper on the baking sheet. Place the coated tofu and bake for 15 minutes on high heat till it turns little brown and crispy.
Tips for perfect pan-fried crispy tofu
Type of Tofu: For crispy tofu, go for only extra-firm tofu. This is the best option to get crispy ones. Medium-firm will not give equal good yield.
Pressing the tofu brick: This is the most important part of making any tofu recipe. Tofu is normally flavorless. To add in flavor we need to expel the excess water so as to create space for other flavorful marinades. It also makes the tofu extra-firm.
Marination is important: Marinating tofu in desired sauces or spices is essential otherwise it will be very bland. Here you can play around with spices and ingredients as per your wish.
Use heavy bottom pan: I prefer heavy bottom pans in my cooking as they distribute heat equally and food less tends to stick to the pan. it helps the tofu or any vegetables not to stick to the pan. Use non-stick pans for less oil options. Otherwise cast iron frying pans give the best brown tofu.
Serving Ideas for Crispy Baked Tofu/ Pan-fried Tofu
As an appetizer/snack - This is one of the healthiest snacks or appetizers and won't add in any fat to your body. On the other hand, the protein-rich snack will give satiety and will keep you full for longer.
Add in to curry - Add this baked tofu to your curry recipes. Here you may marinate with curry paste or powder in place of soy or tamari. This will help in absorbing more curry flavor to the tofu.
Add in to salads - Add this crispy tofu to any salads or baked veggies. Just like my roasted veggies quinoa salad.
Quick and Easy Crispy Tofu Recipe
- Press lightly to get rid of excess liquid from tofu.
- Don't press very hard to break.
- Cut it into equal-sized cubes.
- Make a mixture of marination with tamari/ soy sauce and onion, garlic powder.
- Marinate the tofu cubes for 5 minutes.
- Take out tofu to a mixing bowl and toss it with cornstarch.
- Heat oil in a pan.
- Saute the marinated and coated tofu cubes till it turns brown.
- Preheat oven at 350F.
- Spread parchment paper on the baking sheet.
- Place the coated tofu and bake for 15 minutes on high heat (350F or 180 C) till it turns little brown and crispy.
Read another tofu recipe here: Vegan Chicken Nuggets
This recipe is inspired by the cooking lessons from The Kitchn.
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