Would you like crispy, tasty tofu for dinner tonight? If you need a recipe with lots of flavor, this marinated tofu recipe is the one for you.
Crispy Marinated Tofu [Vegan]
- One block of extra firm tofu: 8 ounces
- 1/4 cup soy or tamari sauce, reduced sodium; naturally brewed
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon vegetable -or- canola oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger -or- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 garlic clove, pressed
- 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper paste -or- cayenne pepper
- Option: Roasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top
- Drain the water from the package and rinse the tofu block under cold running water. Press it down with your palms and a towel a few times to dry. If your tofu block is very thick, slice it in two lengthwise. It should be about 0.8 inch thick.
- Pressing the tofu. This part is essential: Press the tofu block for at least 15 minutes to reduce the moisture in order to obtain (1) better texture and (2) allow those flavors to get in. I usually press it anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. Some people prefer to cube the tofu prior to pressing, but I don’t see any difference and go straight into pressing the block.
- Place the tofu block on a hard surface like a chopping board covered with a teatowel or paper towel. Place another towel on top of the tofu. Then place heavy objects on top, like a chopping board topped with a pan and/or a heavy book. I used a chopping board, a pan and a kettle weight. Half way through, you can change the top paper towel.
- While the tofu is being squeezed, make your marinade sauce. Hand-mix in a small bowl the soy/tamari sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, sesame and veggie oils, ginger, garlic and red pepper paste or cayenne. Set aside.
- After the tofu has pressed for at least 15 minutes, slice it in cubes. Place the cubes in a shallow container and pour the marinade over them. Cover with a lid and let the cubes marinate for 1 hour or overnight in fridge. I usually let it sit overnight.
- Heat up 1 or 2 tablespoons (not more) of veggie oil in a cast iron or non-stick frying pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high (or a little lower if need be) and add the tofu cubes, one at a time, without the marinade sauce. Do not toss or shake the cubes around! Be gentle and patient and let the cubes fry for about 3 minutes on one side. Then, with a spatula, spoon or cooking tweezers, gently turn them over, one at a time, and let them fry on the other side for another 3 minutes or so and repeat this until they are all fried. Some will be a little more fried than others, but in all, frying should generally take about 12 minutes.
- When the cubes have browned, pour in half or a few tablespoons of the marinade sauce (NOT ALL OF IT). With the heat still on, gently toss and roll the cubes (you can sprinkle some sesame seeds on top) until all of the sauce is absorbed and the cubes are caramelized.
- Transfer the cubes to a plate or bowl and serve as is or with a drizzle of heated leftover marinade sauce on top. Tastes great accompanied with rice, noodles, veggies. You can heat up the remaining marinade sauce in the microwave and mix it into the cooked rice or noodles. This will give you a nice flavorful meal high in plant-based proteins and other goodies.
- You can refrigerate leftover tofu cubes in a sealed container. They taste great heated or cold the next day and the day after that. Enjoy!