Crispy Tofu a la Erowid
Crispy Tofu Recipe
The intended goal is medium-thin slices of tofu with a strong flavor from a marinade, crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, with the thinner pieces quite crispy. Although it is not intended to taste like meat at all, it is vaguely reminiscent of crispy bacon in general texture and flavor. It is a yummy snack by itself but also goes well on stir fry or on plain rice.
Crispy (or leathery) tofu also works well as a cracker. Goat cheese, fresh basil, and/or summer-sweet tomatoes work well as toppings.
* Ultra-firm tofu (we use mostly Wildwood Super Firm sprouted Tofu) * Soy sauce * Rice Vinegar * Apple Cider Vinegar * Ginger powder * Mild Chile Powder * Olive (or other) oil * 1 tablespoon Cheap balsamic vinegar or honey
1. Take firm tofu and dry it further. This could include setting it on a board at an angle or patting with paper towels. The traditional method is to let it sit for a while with a weight on it on an angled cutting board. A quick method is to use a clean white tea towel: put the cut tofu on the towel, wrap the rest of the towel over the top, press by hand quickly and then use. Any drying helps the tofu act as a sponge to absorb the marinade.
2. While the tofu is drying, make the marinade. Key ingredients include rice vinegar, soy sauce (too much will overpower the marinade, but there's a lot of wiggle room here), and some oil. Fresh or powdered ginger, black pepper, basil, garlic, or chili powder all also work. The goal is a strongly flavored, salty, salad-dressing thing with an Asiany or Southwestern tang.
2.1. Main Erowid Recipe: depends on amount of tofu, but creating enough marinade to mostly cover the tofu: a bunch of ginger powder, an equal amount of mild Chile powder (we use mostly mild red Hatch from TheChileShop.com), several glugs of salty soy sauce, a couple glugs of apple cider vinegar (we use mostly Braggs), less glugs of olive oil, and a couple splashes of cheap balsamic vinegar or honey to add some stickiness. The marinade should be a little thick and viscous with the amount of powder to liquid, like a slightly over seasoned, but non-thickened salad dressing.
3. Slice the tofu medium thin, about 1/4 inch. Varying slice thickness makes it so you get variable crispiness, some will be more crisp, some will be more chewy or fluffy. Too much variation will make it so some is over-done, some under-done. I wouldn't vary more than .5 to 2 of the 'normal' thickness.
4. Marinate the tofu for "a while" (minimum 10 minutes, better is 12-24 hours).
5. Pre-heat the oven to 425 or grill to high.
6. Lay out the tofu on a well oiled cookie sheet - there should be a tiny bit of frying going on during the baking.
7. Bake for about 45 minutes, flipping the tofu pieces once midway through. At that point, drizzle additional marinade on the tofu. Check once or twice closer to the end to make sure you're not burning them. Ovens vary in temperature a lot. On the grill, make sure to leave it long enough on one side that the side firms up or it will stick to the grill and then fall apart when you try to flip it.
The tofu will continue to crisp/harden a little after it comes out of the oven, so don't wait until the tofu is completely crisp. If it is left in the fridge in a plastic bag, as you'd expect, it will soften a bit and still be quite yummy: cut into pieces and put on crackers with avocado or goat cheese or, even better, use them as crackers for holding goat cheese, fresh basil, a dab of horseradish, and tomato.
Variant : Grilled Tofu a la Erowid
* Slice the tofu thicker, since the heat is generally higher. * More oil in the marinade than for the oven version * put some marinade on after grilling the first side, before flipping. * if overcooked or to taste, toss with a little marinade after it comes off the grill