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Crispy Fried Tofu A Takeout-Style Recipe

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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. It also has enough flavor to be snacked on alone!

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, and even butternut squash.

You'll need to press the tofu in this recipe 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. For the tofu, I recommend using extra-firm tofu so that it holds together.

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 I usually cut in half to eat.

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. With all that out of the way, here's the fried vegan tofu recipe!

Bon appetit!

Crispy Fried Tofu

Yield6 servings

Prep Time50 minutes

Cook Time10 minutes

Total Time80 minutes

Ingredients

  • 14-oz block of extra-firm tofu

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour for coating

  • vegetable oil for frying

Tofu Marinade

  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos

  • 1 tbsp. rice wine

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. granulated sugar

  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper

  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Press your tofu for 20-30 minutes. Then cut the pressed tofu into pieces according to the size you would like them to be (I usually cut 3/4" cubes).

  2. In a large bowl, mix the soy sauce and rice wine. Then place the tofu 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 saute pan with about 1 1/2" of vegetable oil for frying. Heat over medium heat until the oil is about 350 degrees. The oil should start to ripple when it's ready, and water should splatter out if dropped in the oil.

  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 fork to lift the tofu from the batter and another fork to lift it from the flour. Add more flour to the flour bowl, as needed.

  6. Drop the coated tofu pieces 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 on paper towels to drain the oil. Repeat with additional tofu pieces. Serve immediately with your choice of sauce, vegetables, and rice.

    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.

StephSunshine

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Steph Sunshine

Hi! I'm Steph, and I love to explore vegan food, health, and of course, the world. I'm sharing my best vegan recipes, and things I've learned and loved from my travels and health journeys.