I’m pretty sure meals like this are my absolute favorite. My favs! When you combine some greens with charred veggies, a complete-protein grain, and some fried tofu, you’ve definitely got a winner.
Ok, how many of your fell off the bandwagon when I mentioned the fried tofu? I know, tofu is such a polarizing subject. People seem to either love it or they hate it. I’m in both camps: I love it when done right, I really hate it when done wrong.
This time, I did it right, and this is probably the best tofu I’ve ever had.
I realize that others of you man have fallen (I seriously just typed “falled” there, guys… that’s embarrassing) off the bandwagon when I mentioned it was fried. Here’s where I sit on that subject:
- Fried food is tasty.
- Tofu is healthy.
- If I’m going to eat tofu (because it’s healthy), it may as well be tasty.
Kapish? Kapish. Let’s break down this frying process a bit, because you can totally do it without a deep fryer, and no you’re not going to burn your house down.
how to fry amazing tofu
Here are the 5 easy peasy steps you need to fry your tofu:
Step 1: Marinate
Marinate the tofu in an uuber delicious oriental-inspired marinade. This takes about an hour, but you can do it the night before if you want to be super fantastically organized.
I marinate my tofu in a ziploc bag because it does the best job of surrounding the tofu block with the marinade. A sandwich-sized bag usually works just fine, but you can use a quart-sized bag if needed.
Step 2: Cut & Coat
Drain the tofu (for this recipe, make sure to keep the marinade!) and cut into bite-sized chunks. Toss in a mixture of cornstarch, flour (GF option below) and a bit of salt. This is what gives the tofu a nice crunchy exterior.
Step 3: Heat the oil
Heat about 1″ of oil in a large pot. The taller the sides the better. I use the pot that I normally boil pasta in.
The temperature of the oil is pretty important, so I recommend using a candy thermometer to keep it on track. You can but candy thermometers at almost any grocery store, or on Amazon here. They’re super cheap.
If you don’t have a candy thermometer, then you can eyeball it (but I still recommend the thermometer). Just make sure that when you add the tofu it sizzles decently, but not enough to jump out of the pot.
Oil gets hot very rapidly when nothing is in it, and will drop in temperature quickly when things are added, so keep this in mind.
Step 4: Cook the Tofu
Add the tofu in a few batches if necessary. Add as many pieces as you can without forcing them to touch each other in the pot. They like to have a little room to breathe.
Cook the little guys for 3-4 minutes, until they are a light golden brown color. When frying, the color will darken a few shades after it is removed from the oil, so be sure not to leave it in too long.
Step 5: Drain & Cool
Take the tofu out of the pot with a slotted spoon and place it on a plate covered with a few layers of paper towels. You’ll see the excess oil soak out the bottom of the towels. Now go get to eatin’!
The rest of this salad is a total cinch. Pretty much, you’ll cook some quinoa, stir-fry some veggies, and pile it all up on top of a bunch of torn kale. Spinach also works, for the kale-averse.
If you make some tofu using this recipe, let me know how you love it – or even how much you hate it – in the comments below!
The Best Tofu You\’ve Ever Had & a Charred Green Bean Salad
This might just be the best tofu recipe you’ve ever tried. A oriental-inspired marinade and a splash of spicy makes it just irresistible! Served on top of a charred green bean & squash salad, this is a wonderful one-dish-dinner.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
For the tofu:
- 1 box firm tofu
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari if GF)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp chili paste
- 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (use almond flour if GF)
- 1/4 tsp fine-grain salt
For the salad:
- 1 lb green beans
- 2 medium summer squash
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 3 green onions
- 4 cups torn kale
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
For the tofu:
- Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili paste, ginger, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Mix well with a fork.
- Drain the tofu and cut in half. Place in a sandwich-sized Ziploc bag, then add the marinade. Carefully zip, then shake it up a bit to get it evenly distributed. Marinate for 1 hour or overnight.*
- When tofu is done marinating, drain the marinade into a measuring cup or small bowl. Keep the marinade! Cut the tofu into 1/2″ cubes.
- Toss the cornstarch, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the cubes of tofu and toss until evenly coated.
- Heat 1″ of vegetable oil in a large pot to 350°F. Carefully add the tofu in batches so that they don’t cram together. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until golden. Remove to a plate topped with paper towels to drain.
For the salad:
- While the tofu marinates, prep the veggies. Trim the green beans, cut the squash into half moons, mince the garlic, and slice the green onions (I slice the white parts about 1/4″ and the dark green parts into 1″ pieces).
- Heat a pan over medium-high heat, then add the green beans. Once they start to turn bright green, add the squash and most of the green onion. Toss occasionally (but not too often) until slightly charred. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Once everything is cooked (including the tofu), assemble the salad with kale on the bottom, then the quinoa, veggies, and tofu. Top with the remaining green onion and pine nuts. Finish it off with a splash of the marinade/dressing, and serve.
– To reduce the marinade time, you can cut likely the tofu ahead of time and marinade for 30 minutes. I have not tried this, though.