Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fried Tofu How-to






Whenever my kids are served Asian-style food containing fried tofu, they pick out pieces of tofu and eat it first.  If done right, fried tofu is crispy on the outside, and a little softer inside. It’s a great way to make vegetarian food tasty and satisfying!

When I met my husband Ben in college, I had no experience with tofu—I’d been scared off after I saw uncooked tofu in a water-filled container in my neighbor’s fridge.    But Ben had spent two years in Hong Kong, and enthusiastically introduced me to fried tofu in Chinese food.  Now I really enjoy it—tofu has a subtle flavor and tends to taste like whatever sauce it’s in.
You can buy tofu in the produce section of the grocery store. And my neighbor was right to store extra uncooked  tofu in a water-filled container.

“I like the toe-foods.” –Sabrina, age 4

Extra-firm tofu and package


Ingredients:
12-16 oz. Extra-firm Tofu
1 Tbsp. Cornstarch
Vegetable Oil
 
Directions:
1. Cut package open and let water drain out. It’s very important to get rid of extra water in the tofu before cooking.
    Line a plate with a few paper towels and set tofu on top.  Cover tofu with more paper towels and top with another plate.  Let sit about five minutes, as the paper towels absorb water from the tofu. Change paper towels and wait five more minutes. The tofu will never seem totally "dry", but it will cook better this way.
Can you see the tofu in there?
Chopped tofu
2. Cut tofu into ½” cubes.

3.Gently mix with 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

4. Pour a thin covering vegetable oil (ranging from 1/16-inch to ½-inch deep)


in medium or large nonstick frying pan.
The nonstick pan must be in good condition,
or else your tofu will stick as you fry it
and wind up with a slimy texture instead
of crisp.
Set pan on stove and turn heat up to high.

5. Watch for oil to get very hot—the surface will look a tiny bit wavy around edges. Carefully add tofu (stand back so you don’t get splattered). It will bubble and hiss.

This is where the magic happens!
(I used deep oil here--1/2")
6. Use plastic spatula to slowly stir tofu pieces so they don’t stick to pan or each other.

7. Within five minutes, tofu should be crispy and light golden on outside while soft inside.

8. Remove tofu from pan and lay on plate with paper towel.

9. Serve in a favorite recipe!

I calculated the nutrition facts for fried tofu, but published nutrition facts for fried tofu are different. I’ve included both charts below.

*Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
12 oz. extra-firm tofu
280
0
0
28
40
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
30
0
0
0
0
0.15 c. vegetable oil
288
0
0
0
0
Total (2 cups)
598 kcal
0 %
0 g
28 g
40%

*Calculated from food packaging
I used “House Foods Organic” brand Extra-firm tofu, “Cream” brand cornstarch, and “Wesson” brand vegetable oil.
I measured the amount of vegetable oil before and after cooking to estimate the amount absorbed by the tofu.

**Nutrition facts:

Ingredient
Calories
Sodium (% RDA)
Fiber (g)
Protein (g)
Calcium (% RDA)
1 oz. fried tofu
76
0
1
5
10
12 oz. fried tofu
912 kcal
0 %
12 g
60 g
120%


**Calculated from the following website: http://nutritiondata.self.com/

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