Vegan Life > Recipes > Dinner > Crispy Fried Tofu

Crispy Fried Tofu A Takeout-Style Recipe

December 4, 2020

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Crispy fried tofu in a bowl

It's been a long time since I've eaten anything fried in oil. But recently I found myself craving General Tso's sauce, and decided I'd treat myself. Since I'm vegan, I obviously won't be eating chicken with that sauce, so I decided to batter and fry tofu instead. This tofu came out so perfect, golden, and delicious that it was worthy of its own recipe. The texture of the coating is very similar to the battered chicken you'll find in many Chinese takeout places, so you can use it with a variety of sauces, like sweet and sour sauce, peanut sauce, ginger sauce, etc.

Since fried food isn't necessarily the healthiest option, I like to eat this fried tofu in smaller portions combined with lots of steamed or sauteed vegetables. It works well with all kinds of vegetables, including bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, mushrooms, bok choy, and even butternut squash.

You'll need to press the tofu in this recipe to remove excess moisture before using it. You can either use a tofu press, or just wrap it up in a kitchen towel and leave some moderate weights on top of it for 20 minutes or so. I usually use my large wooden cutting board with a few cookbooks on top. The best type of tofu for this recipe is extra-firm or firm tofu, which will hold together well. Avoid soft or silken tofu.

You can cut your tofu pieces into any size you like, but remember that they'll ultimately be a little larger because of the coating. I like to use 3/4" cubes, which is about two bites' worth for me.

This crispy tofu recipe is crunchiest when it's fresh (although leftovers still taste delicious, they'll be a little softer). Because of that, you may wish to make a smaller batch that you and your family can eat in one sitting.

Crispy fried tofu on a fork
Bon appetit!

Crispy Fried Tofu

5.00 stars from 1 reviews

Yield6 servings

Prep Time50 minutes

Cook Time10 minutes

Total Time80 minutes

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. extra-firm tofu
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour for coating
  • vegetable oil for frying

Tofu Marinade

Batter

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. vegan granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Press your block of tofu for 20-30 minutes. Then cut the pressed tofu into pieces that are a little smaller than you would like the finished chunks to be (I usually cut 3/4” cubes).

  2. In a large bowl, mix the coconut aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce) and rice wine. Then place the tofu cubes in the bowl and marinate with the soy sauce and rice wine marinade for 15-30 minutes. I like to put everything in a container with a lid so I can occasionally shake it a little to distribute the tofu marinade.

  3. While the tofu is marinating, combine 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, sugar, and white pepper in a small mixing bowl. Add water and mix well. (If you want a thinner coating/thinner batter, add additional water; for a thicker batter, add more flour). Place 1/2 cup all-purpose flour in a separate bowl.

  4. Fill a large skillet or saute pan with about 1 1/2” of vegetable oil for frying. Heat the oil over medium heat. When it’s ready, the oil should start to ripple, and water should splatter out if dropped in the oil. If the water splatters violently, the oil is too hot.

  5. Place several pieces of marinated tofu in the bowl with the flour and toss until coated. Dredge each piece of tofu through the batter, making sure it’s evenly coated, then drop it back in the flour to coat the outside of the batter. I use one set of forks to lift the tofu from the batter and another set to lift it from the flour. Add more flour to the flour bowl, as needed.

    top down view of pulling tofu from batter, ready to be coated in flour
  6. Drop the coated tofu pieces in a single layer in the hot oil and cook, turning as needed. Using tongs or a metal spatula, remove the tofu from the oil when the pieces are golden in color, about 3-6 minutes. Place the finished tofu on paper towels to drain the oil. Repeat with additional pieces of tofu. Serve immediately with your choice of sauce, vegetables, and rice. Enjoy!

    Tofu frying in pan
    The tofu is ready to be removed when it's golden brown in color.

Notes & Hints

This tofu is crunchiest when it's fresh (although leftovers still taste delicious, they'll be a little softer). Because of that, you may wish to make a smaller batch that you and your family can eat in one sitting.

If you don't have a tofu press, you can just wrap up the tofu block in a kitchen towel and leave some moderate weights on top of it for 20 minutes or so. I usually use my large wooden cutting board with a few cookbooks on top.

Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Reheat on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.

Nutrition Data

Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe; Calories: 233Fat: 10 g.; Saturated Fat: 1 g.; Cholesterol: 0 mg.; Sodium: 609 mg.; Carbohydrates: 26 g.; Fiber: 1 g.; Sugar: 3 g.; Protein: 10 g.; Vitamin A: 0 mcg. RAE; Vitamin B12: 0 mcg.; Vitamin C: 0 mg.; Vitamin D: 0 mcg.; Calcium: 99 mg.; Iron: 1 mg.; Potassium: 122 mg.; Zinc: 0 mg.

Note: This data should be used only as an estimate. Please see the nutrition section of my terms and conditions for more information on how this data is calculated.

Four vegan dishes: Creme Brulee, Detroit-style pizza, General Tso's Tofu, and Lemon Tart

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