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How to Make Crispy Tofu for Stir Fry

Tofu can be a great substitute for meat in vegetarian diets - but not because of its flavor and texture.  Some extra coaxing is needed to give it the right taste and mouth-feel to feel make it seem like an acceptable alternative to your favorite meat product.  I've tried many different ways of cooking tofu for use in a stir-fry or salad and found this to be the best balance of a good result against the time involved.



Prepping the Tofu

Getting the tofu ready is pretty straightforward.  The typical block of tofu is about 1" thick.  So I'll slice it horizontally into two 1-inch thick slabs.  Place each slab between a kitchen towel, apply pressure to squeeze out excess water and then finish cubing it up individual pieces.

In a mixing bowl, combine about 1 tablespoon of All-Purpose Flour for every 1/4 cup of Cornstarch.  As far as seasoning the tofu goes, if it's anything more than simple salt and pepper, I prefer to season the tofu directly in a separate mixing bowl before breading, rather than seasoning the flour.  Finally add the tofu to the flour and cornstarch mixture and give it a healthy coating.


Cooking the Tofu

Bring a large skillet up to medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil.  Give the tofu about 5 minutes of cooking per side to get it crispy and nicely browned.  Since there are 6 sides to the tofu, you're looking at about 30 minutes of cooking altogether.

That's all there is to it.  One block should be plenty for 4 people.  Whenever I cook tofu like this, I usually make two batches from two tofu blocks and refrigerate the leftovers for later in the week.