For this meal, we took fried tofu to the next level by adding panko mix to the batter. Success! (In the past, we had made the batter only with flour; we also often skip the batter). The meal consisted of battered, fried tofu flavored with curry powder, cumin, turmeric and other spices; rice and veggies; and honey for dipping the tofu into and soyaki for dipping the veggies in. The recipe is as below, but don’t take it too seriously…
Personalize it with any spices you like (or none), whatever ratio of flour to panko mix you like, whatever dip you like, etc. Depending on the spices, you could make this taste reminiscent of Indian food (like we did) or any number of other cuisines, then pick a dip to match.
- 1 block of tofu
- spices of your choice! We used this time (in order of most to least) curry powder, cumin, turmeric, and a little garlic and chili powder)
- flour (1-2 cups?)
- panko mix (1-2 cups?)
- oil (peanut oil recommended; veg. or canola is fine too)
- 1 egg (optional; without it the recipe is vegan)
- dip: honey for the tofu, soyaki/etc. for the veggies
- You’ll also need (to avoid having to cook it in batches) more than one pan
- Recommended side: Steamed rice and/or veggies, or just the veggies. Keep it simple and healthy to balance out the spices and grease
- Make or start the rice/veggies (or cook them ahead of time)
- Slice the block of tofu into squares or rectangles about a quarter inch thick.
- Pre-spice (first round of spicing) the tofu as you see fit, on both sides.
- In a bowl, beat one egg and mix it with water to stretch it further (for us, one egg was plenty for the whole block of tofu this way). If you don’t want to use an egg, maybe make a really runny flour and water mixture? (or just water, or fake egg?). Oh and some salt, because the Panko bag says so.
- In another bowl, add flour and Panko, plus the same spices you pre-spiced with. Don’t be wimpy with the spices! Depending on the spice, you can use something like 1-2 tablespoons–not just a few shakes. If you’re worried about wasting spices, just use less panko and flour and then make more when you run out.
- Batter the tofu pieces by dipping them into the egg/water mix and then the powder. (It helps to have one person handle the egg/water part and another person, who tries to keep his/her hands fairly dry, do the powder part.) Lay them onto a plate as you finish them, and avoid stacking them.
- Heat a pan with peanut oil (thin layer on the bottom, and be sure to add more as needed, or just use more from the start), wait til it’s sizzling, then throw in the tofu.
- Check and flip tofu as needed. (I find chopsticks better for doing this than a flipper, especially when the pan is over-packed, but I’m probably alone in that.) Lower the heat a bit. I’m sorry but I’m not sure how long it takes…. 8-10 minutes? You want them to be able to stay in there long enough to get crispy. When they’re done, they will be golden brown and not bend, but the tofu inside will still be soft.
- De-grease on paper towels (or a rack, to be earth-friendly?)
- Enjoy! Serve with rice and veggies, and little bowls (honey or whatever you like for the tofu, and soy or soyaki or whatever you like for the veggies). Salt is good too 🙂
This is what it looked like before going into the pan. I didn’t know it was even possible for uncooked tofu to look appetizing, but it did.
P.S. The person who got me started on this whole fried tofu with tasty spices thing is Michelle of Spark & Glow photography and Re-Use First (sustainable crafts) in Chicago. She and her husband Jeremiah do great, cute, unique work!