Nov 102010
After that last post, a brief derailment from the healthy cooking track, I decided I had to jump back on with something really healthy.  The last time I posted using this ingredient, in fact, it resulted in a text from my father saying “love your blog, but yuck!”.  Yep, you know it’s really healthy when most guys think it’s nasty.  I only started eating tofu about a year ago, and had always been pretty underenthused.  Even if the flavors are good, my tofu adventures had always ended up sponguey and textureless.  So this time, it was my mission to achieve crispy tofu.

Might be a little overdone to go the asian route with tofu, but a good stir fry was what I was craving so I went with it.  I used a ton of vegetables:  broccolini, yellow squash, carrots, mushrooms, red pepper, and snap peas.  You can use any varitey you like or just use this recipe to clean out your veggie drawer at the end of the weeek.

After mush research, I had a plan to make crispy tofu.  I cut the block into 9 thin rectangles.  I squeezed out all the liquid and then let it marinate in a delicious citrus/soy/ginger/garlic mixture.  The real secret to crispness came just before the cooking process.  A very light dredge in corn starch, a little big of peanut oil in a very hot wok, and cook the tofu without moving it on each side until crispy.    Then I removed the tofu and cooked the veggies, and finally added the sauce to bring it all together.  Mission crispy tofu accomplished.  I think you’d maybe even like this one, Dad.

Nutritional Highlights:  Tofu is very high in protein, specifically soy protein.  Recent research on soy protein has shown that it may be able to reduce bad cholesterol by over 30%.  Some people think you need meat to get adequate protein, but a 4oz serving of tofu has about 20% of your daily protein requirement, less than 1 gram of saturated fat, and about 86 calories.  Show me a meat that can do that.  Plus, tofu is crazy cheap so if you’re poor like me, learn to love it.

Crispy Tofu Stir Fry
adapted from The Daily Green

INGREDIENTS (serves 3-4)

1 16-oz package extra-firm, water-packed tofu
3 TBSP cornstarch, divided
4 cups fresh chopped veggies or a frozen stir fry veggie medley
2 TBSP canola or peanut oil (any light-tasting oil)
1/2 C vegetable stock/broth
1-1/2 TBSP water
Green Onions and Sesame Seeds to garnish

1/4 C lemon juice
1/4 C lime juice
1/2 C soy sauce (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos – less sodium!)
1/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1. Drain tofu; cut into 7-9 slices width-wise. Press tofu for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour. (I left it wrapped in paper towel between two heavy pans overnight).

2. Mix ingredients for marinade (excluding the sesame oil); microwave for 1 minute and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Reserve approx 2/3 cup for sauce, 1/3 cup for actual marinade.  Place tofu in a dish or plastic zipper bag; pour the 1/3 cup of marinade over the tofu. Marinate for at least 1 hour; preferably 4-6.

3. Make sauce: Add reserved marinade to a saucepan, mix in sesame oil, along with the 1/2 cup vegetable stock/broth. Bring to a rolling boil; boil for 2 minutes to reduce a bit and concentrate the flavors. Whisk together 1 TBSP cornstarch and 1-1/2 TBSP cool water in a small dish until smooth. Turn sauce down to medium-high; add cornstarch slurry, whisking continuously. Continue to stir until sauce starts to thicken; reduce to low heat. Set sauce aside.

4. Heat a wok or large pan.  While pan is heating, dredge tofu in 2 tablespoons of corn starch (I spread the cornstarch on a plate and dredged like I would chicken in flour, shaking off any excess).  Add a little peanut oil and then the tofu to the pan, being careful to not overcrowd. You’ll probably need to do it in 2 batches. Resist the urge to touch your tofu until they are golden brown on one side – then use tongs to flip. Once golden brown on both sides, remove from pan.

5.  Stir fry your veggies (you might need to add a bit more oil) and cook until bright and tender-crisp.  Add enough sauce so that everything is lightly coated, but not drowning in sauce. You can add the tofu back in at this point but I kept it separate as to not interfere with the crispness it had acheived.

  One Response to “Crispy Tofu Stir Fry”

  1. I LOVE TOFU! best protein ever. besides beans.

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