Depending on how you prepare it, tofu can be soft, creamy, crispy, or crunchy. If you cook it with care, tofu can be the perfect protein in almost any meal. We love tofu as the star of vegetarian dishes, or served alongside meats in dishes like Mapo tofu.
Baking is a great method to use for grain bowls or salads with firm or extra firm tofu. Clean-up is a breeze with this method, especially if you coat the pan with aluminum foil.
Line a sheet pan with foil; lightly oil the foil. Transfer the diced tofu to the foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and any other spices. Gently toss to coat. Arrange in an even layer. Bake 19 to 21 minutes, or until browned and slightly crispy. Remove from the oven.
If you want a lot of crunch, breading and frying is the way to go. Katsu tofu makes a delicious rice bowl, and would even be a delicious filling for a fried tofu sandwich.
In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a thin layer of oil on medium-high. Once the oil is hot enough that a pinch of breadcrumbs sizzles immediately when added, add the coated tofu in an even layer. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side (if the pan seems dry, add a drizzle of oil before flipping), or until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt.
For a crispy exterior and a soft interior, try searing firm or extra firm tofu. This method works quickly, which makes it ideal for busy weeknight dinners.
Transfer the pressed tofu to a cutting board; cut lengthwise into 4 equal-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. In the same pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned tofu pieces in an even layer. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until browned. Flip and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Silken tofu is too delicate to cook using the methods above. The best way to cook silken tofu is simply to heat gently before serving.
If you’re preparing a soup or a sauce, you can heat the tofu directly in it. Just add the tofu to the pan and cook, occasionally stirring gently, for 3-5 minutes, until the tofu has absorbed some flavor and is heated.
If you’re serving the tofu on it’s own, like in a vegetable bibimbap, you can heat the tofu in a steamer or for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.
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