Thursday’s Dish: Fried Tofu
From the title, you might assume that this post is about fried tofu, but it’s actually about the pan I use to fry my tofu. You see, before last week, I had never, ever successfully fried tofu before. I had tried many times, with advice from friends and instructions from many a food blog, but just couldn’t do it without the tofu sticking to the pan. Lo and behold, I got a Green Pan, and now miraculously browned squares of tofu slip easily from my spatula. (This is not an advertisement for Green Pan, they didn’t give us any money or product, I just really like it that much, but there may be other ceramic-coated pans that work just as well.)
So let’s back up a minute. Why a Green Pan? After reading about the harmful chemicals released by Teflon a few years ago, I started trying to use all stainless steel or cast iron pans. Most things worked well in those, but not eggs or tofu, not at all. I kept one little Teflon-coated pan and would use it only for eggs, cooked on low heat to mitigate the release of the chemicals. Then one day I was at a kitchenwares outlet store and saw a Green Pan on sale. I took it home, and our love affair began. I can make eggs any way you can think of, and they always slide out nicely, plus cleanup is a breeze. (Except I can’t make a frittata, which would have to go in the oven, because the Green Pan is not oven safe, alas.)
It worked so well, I got to thinking, “What else can I cook in this bad boy?” Which brought me to the ultimate challenge: tofu. Using firm tofu, I placed the two cubes from the package onto a plate lined with paper towels. I put more paper towels on top, then balanced another plate on top, and placed it all in the fridge with a bowl of leftovers perched on the upper plate to squeeze out moisture. An hour later, I removed and disassembled this contraption, then sliced the tofu into 1/2-inch squares.
Then, I sprinkled all the squares with a little salt and a little cornstarch (see the shaker?). I did one side, then the other, then put them immediately in the pan with some olive oil (although a purist would use coconut or peanut oil, but this worked).
I flipped them once, with ease, until they were golden brown, as you see below. Happiness!
I put them in my toaster oven on warm while I made a quick veggie stir fry (also in my Green Pan!) and served it all over rice with a quick sauce made from Caravelle, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce (just mix about 1/2 cup of Caravelle with 1 tbsp. vinegar and 1 tbsp. soy sauce, then adjust to your taste if you like it more sweet, sour or salty). I wish I had a picture of the end product, but my family was too hungry. I think I would have lost a finger trying to get a photo.
The moral of this story: If you think you cannot make something, maybe you just don’t have the right tools!