How To Make Crispy Tofu

You might not know what crispy tofu is, let alone how to make crispy tofu. Tofu has never been considered one of the manliest foods, nor is it known as one of the tastiest. It is, however, inexpensive, high in protein and antioxidants and low in calories. So, what is the best way to transform this healthy, albeit tasteless substance into something edible? Add beer, of course. This is not to say drink a six pack and then munch on raw tofu. Coating tofu in a simple beer batter and a few spices is a great way to make delicious, crispy tofu.

To make crispy tofu, you will need:

  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer (preferably a pale ale or other "hoppy" beer)
  • cornstarch for dredging

To make crispy tofu:

  1. Press the tofu. Drain the water from the packaged tofu and place the tofu square on a plate. Balance another plate on top of the tofu square and add weight to it with a book or two. Let the tofu press for at least 15 minutes. A pool of slightly milky liquid will accumulate on the bottom plate, just pour this off when you are ready to use the tofu.
  2. Cut the tofu into half-inch wide strips. You can experiment with different shapes, but try to avoid extremely large or extremely small portions.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne, and seasoned salt) together in a bowl.
  4. Add beer and mix thoroughly. Pale ales or other "hoppy" beers add the most flavor to the batter.
  5. Refrigerate the batter for fifteen minutes to one hour before using.
  6. Dredge the tofu in cornstarch. This allows the batter to adhere to the tofu better. Cornstarch works best, but flour can be used as a substitute in a pinch.
  7. Dip the tofu into the batter.
  8. Fry the battered tofu in peanut oil in a deep skillet (cast iron works best). The oil should be about 2 inches deep and heated over medium heat.
  9. Remove the tofu from the oil before it stops bubbling. This means the oil has not seeped into the tofu. If you leave it in too long you will have oily, limp tofu, and nobody wants that.
  10. Serve with malt vinegar, spicy peanut sauce, honey mustard, or any dip of your choice.
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