Who would've thought that frying tofu without a drop of oil could be so delicious.
Have you ever tried dry frying? I didn't believe it would actually work, especially with tofu.
(Not interested in scraping blackened tofu from from cast iron pan - thanks but no thanks.)
But when the kind people at Thug Kitchen suggest a tofu cooking method that's new to me, I listen.
After experimenting with the method a few times, there are a few tips that I have to share in order to get the best dry fried tofu result...
I have a hunch that many tofu-haters aren't pressing the water out of their tofu, creating a less crispy and flavorful tofu experience.
You can buy an actual tofu press but I just use a towel and cast iron pan. Remove the tofu block from the package, wrap in a clean towel, and place a heavy object (like a cast iron skillet or cutting board) on top for 20-30 minutes.
This removes the excess water and allows the tofu to crisp up and absorb more flavor.
2. SEASON (YOUR PAN)
Because dry-frying doesn't use any oil, you'll want to be sure that your frying pan is well-seasoned to prevent sticking. You can learn more about seasoning your cast iron pans in this article from The Kitchn.
If all else fails, a non-stick pan will also work.
3. SEASON (YOUR TOFU)
Tofu is the perfect base for flavorful sauces because it doesn't have a ton of flavor on it's own. But that means that you'll need to add your own herbs/spices/sauces.
The Thai Peanut Sauce I'm sharing today is one of my favorites.
Broccoli (or broccolini/baby broccoli, like I used in this recipe) is one of my favorite vegetables to add to Asian dishes but you could also use bok choy, eggplant, mushrooms, peas, and/or edamame.
This dish is one of my favorite simple, crowd-pleasing, plant-based entrees.
Dry Fried Tofu with Broccolini + Thai Peanut Sauce
- 1 block extra firm tofu drained and pressed for 30 minutes
- 1 bunch broccolini about 12 spears
- 2 tablespoon natural peanut butter or almond/cashew butter
- 2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon tamari liquid aminos, or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Scallions for topping
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- Cooked brown rice for serving optional
- Cut tofu into about 20 square pieces and preheat a wok or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Add tofu to pan in a single layer and press down with a spatula. (You should hear sizzling.) Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, flipping when golden brown. Remove tofu from pan, cut into smaller pieces if desired, and set aside.
- Add broccoli to skillet and cook over medium-high heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, vinegar, tamari, maple syrup, and garlic.
- Push broccolini to ind side of the skillet and add tofu back in, toss with peanut sauce, and cook until warmed through.
- Transfer to serving dish and top with scallions and crushed red peppers. Serve with cooked brown rice if desired.
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