If the kitchen in the post below looks odd, it’s my old kitchen in Brooklyn (which may be my new kitchen in Brooklyn, maybe, possibly, The Fella and I will be moving back there as the friend I bequeathed it to will be moving out this summer), but I digress, I “borrowed” the post below from my other, and much neglected, blog Forkful of News. Why? Well, last night as I baked up a batch of faux fried tofu I thought this was a secret I needed to pass on again.  

The Fella and I eat a lot of tofu. The staples of our dinners tend to be tofu, shakshouka, and whatever sort of pasta made out of vegetables concoction I can come up with. When it comes to tofu, there’s no better way to eat it than deep fried and chewy, except for the fact that deep frying it basically counters any positive health benefits and leaves you with a sopping mess of oil and guilt.  I mimic the crispy, chewy goodness of fried tofu with a little parchment paper and patience. 

Here’s a step by step tutorial for my “minimal fry” stir-fry.

Step 1

The first step in any tofu prep is pressing the liquid from it.  I have a system that involves two cutting boards, a ledge to create a slant, a lot of paper towels and a heavy cookbook. I usually leave the tofu to drain for about 40 minutes.

Step 2

Spray a super light mist of olive oil on either side.

Step 3

Once the tofu is cut up, I line a baking sheet with parchment paper…

and bake for 24 minutes, flipping midway, at 300 degrees

Step 4

This is the key step, wait for a pan to get super hot (don’t use non stick) and add 1 tsp of a high heat oil (I prefer safflower). Allowing the pan to get hot before adding the oil will allow it to thin out and cover more surface than it would in a cold pan.

Step 5

Toss the already crisp tofu (and in this case peanuts) in the pan, meanwhile…

Lightly steam vegetables.  I usually steam my vegetables with the steam from my rice cooker, but in this case I just threw them in the microwave with a little water.  Steaming them slightly before hand means they won’t need the oil to cook them, which means less oil.

Step 6

Once you combine the vegetables and tofu, it’s time for sauce.

I like to cut back on the amount of sauce I use.  Stir fry sauces can be extremely thick.  Instead of the recommended 1/4 cup serving, I usually use about 1.5 tablespoons, the key is once you’ve added it, to turn down the heat to light, and cover, allowing the steam from the stir-fry to dilute the sauce.  Most stir-fry sauces are fairly bold, in my opinion less is more.  And in this case it cuts back on the fat and sugar.

Or, I make my own. Last night I combined soy sauce, agave, garlic, olive oil, and red chili pepper for a really nice stir fry sauce. 

Voila!

Mostly baked tofu and steamed vegetables combine for a crisp and healthy variation of an oil-laden favorite.