No matter how you drain it or press it, tofu is a fickle thing. Especially when you want it to have a crisped exterior and flavor-packed interior. Deep frying it will do the trick, but doing that at home isn’t always possible (or safe), and many of us are trying our darnedest to stick to our healthy dinner habits. But we aren’t out of luck! This tofu freezer hack is a total game-changer and will have you eating the misunderstood plant-based protein on the reg.
freeze your tofu
Freezing an extra firm block of tofu removes excess moisture, giving it a meatier and chewier texture. It also makes it better for marinating, and it does wonders for frying it to a golden crisp. You don’t even have to remove the tofu from its original packaging — simply slice a small hole into the package, drain the water, place the package into a sealable plastic bag, and pop it into the freezer at least three hours before use.
Boil your tofu
After three hours, start boiling some water. Use a saucepan or pot that is large enough to submerge the entire block of tofu in. Carefully transfer the tofu into the boiling water and let the water return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let the tofu cook for about 15 minutes. Frozen tofu has a yellow hue to it, but it’s totally normal. Once you set it in boiling water, it will fade back to a healthy shade of white.
With a spatula, carefully remove the tofu from the simmering water and set it out on a plate lined with paper towels or napkins. Let it cool.
Once cooled, continue to pat with paper towels until tofu is completely dry. Transfer tofu to a cutting board and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes; set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add your choice of a high-heat cooking oil. You want the oil to be quite hot before adding the tofu, but not to the point where it’s smoking.
Add the tofu cubes and allow them to cook for about five minutes, checking on the browning process periodically. When golden brown, gently flip the tofu and continue to brown each side. This should only take about 10 minutes. Once all of the sides are golden and crisp, remove them from the pan.
Toss them into salads, stir-fries, or noodles dishes, or eat them on their own. Seriously, they’re that good.
Flavor it up
Tofu is a blank slate, so it *begs* for flavor no matter how well you crisp it. When you bring your tofu to the pan, feel free to add some soy sauce, hot sauce, and/or ginger. If you add garlic, add it near the end of the cooking time, as garlic burns quickly and burnt garlic is what misery is made of. You can also toss the tofu into a dressing right after it’s been cooked, or serve it with a dunkable dipping sauce. Garnish it with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds, as pictured.
Do you have any awesome tofu hacks we should know about? Tweet us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Dana Sandonato / Brit + Co)