Last week I posted on social media that I was going to attempt to make crispy tofu, at home, from scratch. I had some encouraging comments, particularly from friends who like tofu or who are vegetarian, and some comments from people bordering on “yuck” or “good luck” or “why would you do that?” and my own husband and family were also skeptical. I decided I would prove myself right and everyone else wrong. I am stubborn like that. 😉
I love tofu. It’s a very healthy vegetarian protein option, that if made properly, can be delicious, and healthy. It’s a tasty accompaniment to meals or can be served as a main course to substitute a meat protein. It’s a great snack, and I have eaten it in many places and meals. I have had badly made/served tofu too, so I get the “oh yuck” reaction, that some people have to it. On it’s own, it’s pretty tasteless and bland, but if you flavor it right, it can be really yummy, I promise.
This recipe and method is a bit of a hodge-podge of a couple of recipes that I found and decided to use bits from both with a little bit of my own improvisation.
The trick to crispy tofu, is to make sure you have drained and pressed out as much liquid as possible, otherwise it will be soggy, and that isn’t what you want.
I made enough for two adults (actually, the kids ate it too)
So for this recipe you will need:
600g of silky tofu. An oil for brushing the tofu with prior to baking, sesame seeds, salt, and soy sauce for dipping.
I used chili infused oil, for extra flavor, and black sesame seeds because that’s what I happened to have in the cupboard. You can use what you like in terms of oil, but use one that can be cooked at high heat. You can use coconut oil, if you like the flavour of it.
What to do:
The first thing you need to do is tip out and drain your tofu, using something heavy to press it down to get as much liquid out as possible. You may need to improvise on this, depending on what heavy objects you have and what will work in your kitchen.
I used a heavy water jug, filled with water, and a seive and a container to catch the liquid…
I left it like this for an hour, returning to press it down a few times to squeeze out the liquid.
Then I tipped the tofu onto a plate, covered with paper towel, and wrapped it up, and pressed again, and left it for another hour to soak up any remaining liquid. It’s a bit faffy, this process, but worth it.
After the tofu is a dry as possible you need to shape it. I packed it all into a square container, pressing firmly, and then popped it into the fridge for an hour to chill.
Turn your oven on to 220 degrees (or slightly lower for a fan oven)
Once the tofu is chilled and ready to be cut into shapes, you can place it on a board, and cut it into cubes.
Place the cubes on a lined baking tray (foil works best) and brush them with the oil you want to use. You need to brush all sides of the cubes, so they don’t stick and also crisp up evenly all over.
Then sprinkle with sesame seeds and a little freshly ground salt.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the cubes over, carefully, to allow the other side to brown and crisp up.
After a further 20 minutes, remove from the oven, and place on a serving plate.
I served my tofu with lightly steamed broccoli and soy sauce for dipping, but you could use any oriental dip or sauce you like, like sweet chili sauce, or tamari sauce.
My kids loved it, the husband was impressed and it’s definitely a dish I will be making again. It’s a fair bit of work, and not a quick meal, to make but it’s worth it. The tofu is firm and crispy, and the chili oil and sesame seeds give it texture and flavour. It’s also gluten and dairy free, and suitable for vegans and vegetarians too.
So, I proved to myself and the doubters that crispy baked tofu can be made at home, and it’s pretty yummy too!