Hello all! I have completed my travels to CA and before I do anything, let me say that it has been an incredible trip (non-healthy food, non-running, and all!)
Now that I am settled in, though, it’s time to get back to the grind and that means running regularly, but most importantly cooking yummy meals. So, after a request for my breaded tofu recipe, I have decided it’s the perfect post to dive back into the blogosphere.
And let me give credit to Ben’s mom, Barb, because she introduced me to this style of cooking tofu, so she is the original brain in this genius!
** You’ll find the steps numbered in bolded, red font, if you want to skim the text.
1. First, remember that tofu is a sponge; it’s going to taste like whatever you marinate it with… Always marinate before cooking, I promise you’ll regret not doing so!
With that said, I like to make my own marinade, because it’s easy and you skip over all the extra additives of almost any marinade or dressing you would pick up in the store.
My favorite is to mix soy sauce, with something acidic like lemon or lime juice, then add in something sweet to balance it out such as honey or maple syrup. On the particular night I was preparing this tofu I went with honey, dijon (which is great for any marinade or dressing, especially the latter, because it gives it a creamy texture and is still healthier than adding any other creamy alternative.), and LOW SODIUM soy sauce — low sodium because we LOVE soy sauce and use it very frequently. Wanna keep it down on the salt intake!
**I suggest putting the marinade into a tupperware, or container with lid — you’ll see why in a minute.
Whether you do this before or after the marinade, it doesn’t really matter. As far as prepping goes, you can choose to 2a. press your tofu — this makes the texture a little better, makes the tofu firmer, and most importantly, helps to get the water out — Tofu is packaged in water and will not soak up nearly as much of your marinade if you leave it as it is when you take it out.
I normally buy extra firm tofu, so I have never found a need to press it. Regardless, if you so choose to… my makeshift way of doing this is to simply place a paper towel over the tofu and set a pan on top of it for a little while.
For how long exactly? I don’t have a specific amount of time… maybe for the amount of time it will take you to make your marinade? As with everything I tell you, just experiment. But if you buy extra firm I don’t think this step will be necessary, anyway.
2b. Whether you press it or not, you still want to give it a few good squeezes to eek lots of that juice out. My preferred method is to squeeze it with a paper towel or two, by hand.
3. Finally, you must chop your tofu. I like to cut it like you’ll see in the photo below just because larger chunks can be more “tofuy” and prefer mine to be less “tofuy.” Does that make sense? Regardless, you want to keep your slices relatively thick because tofu can break up easily in the breading and cooking process if they are too thin.
4. From here you want to get the tofu into your marinade. I suggested using a container with lid earlier so you’ll be able to give the tofu a shake, ensuring all the pieces get a good soak in your marinade.
If I have time to prepare my tofu a few hours, even an hour, ahead of time, I like to place it in the fridge right side up, and then half way through flip over the container so the top pieces will also get a good coating.
Before cooking the tofu you’ll bread it in a mix of corn starch and corn meal. This gives it a delicious, crispy-ish outside which elevates tofu to a whole new level!
Though I don’t do exact measurements, I usually just cater to the amount I’m doing at the time. Regardless 5. make it 3/4 corn meal and 1/4 corn starch. The corn starch just binds the corn meal to the tofu in the cooking process, so the corn meal is really more important.
I put this mix in a bowl and then use my fingers, though you can use a fork, to 6. place each piece of tofu in the bowl individually and coat it completely.
I should mention that I am heating the pan, at medium heat, as I am coating the tofu, and placing each piece into the pan as it is finished being covered.
**I put my leftover breading mix in a baggy and just keep it for next time.
7. You’ll only need to leave the tofu in the pan for about 3-5 minutes each side. Once you flip all the pieces, which I usually do individually, because as I said earlier, the pieces can break easily, you’ll be able to see how much it has browned and decide how much more you want to cook it.
I like to cook it pretty well because I like my tofu crispy.
Finally, if you find it a little dry with the coating, I like to dip my tofu in maple syrup (so good!) or mustard.
Accompanied with rice and veggies this particular night, it was a delicious and healthy meal that is really easy!