The Trouble with Tofu

The trouble with tofu is that people try it once, hate it then avoid it. It is such a shame because if it’s cooked properly it can be a tasty protein packed addition to any meal. Meat eaters and cautious vegetarians may share a common dislike for it because if it is cooked craply then it can taste a bit, well, crap! I love tofu and have eaten lots of varieties around South East Asia. Vietnam was one of the best countries for it, they had huge market stalls just for selling tofu. Indonesia also sells fried tofu on roaming carts for really cheap.

It took me a long time to find a recipe for tofu I really genuinely liked. There are different types of tofu that you can get readily at large supermarkets or health food shops. Firm block tofu is easier to use for adding to a curry or marinading as it retains its shape. The taste can be quite bland but it can be doused in soy or chilli sauce to give it some extra va va voom! There are now smoked and flavoured varieties too which are great for salads and barbecuing.

Silken tofus are very delicate to handle and quite difficult to cook initially. When I first opened a packet of it and tried to fry it, it just disintegrated into loads of little pieces and quite frankly ruined the Thai curry I’d made. Although having a rubbish first experience, I wanted to persevere. And persevere I did! I have created a great recipe that I have perfected over time and silken firm tofu is the best kind for it. Don’t be confused by it being called firm like block tofu. It is still soft but it just means it’s been made with thicker soya milk and less water has been added. This type of tofu is often used in vegan baking as it can be used instead of eggs.

I admit that the texture and taste of tofu can take some getting used to, but it really can be so delicious. My parents aren’t the keenest of tofu eaters yet they love this recipe!

Crispy Tofu with Chilli      Serves 2-4

  • 1 packet of 349g silken firm tofu
  • 2 eggs
  • 130g cornflour
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp of chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp of coconut oil (you can use any frying oil but coconut adds a subtle flavour)
  1. Beat the eggs into a large dish and in another dish of similar size, place the cornflour, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Mix the dry ingredients together.
    IMG_2955
  2. Next cut tofu into good sized chunks and separate them delicately.
  3. Put the coconut oil in a large shallow frying pan and place it on a medium heat.
  4. Place the two dishes next to each other and start by adding half of the tofu chunks into the beaten eggs.
  5. Lightly coat the tofu with the eggs then move them into the cornflour mix. It gets a bit messy and sticky at this point but it’s worth it!
  6. Quickly place the tofu pieces into the pan and start the frying process. When the tofu starts to turn golden brown repeat the above steps with the other half of the tofu.
    IMG_2960
  7. When the first batch is golden brown on all sides, place it in a bowl lined with kitchen paper to soak up some of the oil.
  8. Fry the remaining half of the tofu, plate up and enjoy!

I usually have crispy tofu as a side dish with a sweet chilli dip. For this recipe I served it on a bed or stir fried veggies with sweet chilli sauce and lime.

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