Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crispy Tofu & Edamame

Yesterday we went on a meat-binge.  We had a lovely lunch at Fogo de Chao in honor of my Hub’s birthday.  It was fabulous, but we ate more meat in one sitting than we typically do in an entire week, especially red meat.  It’s an indulgence we only do once or twice a year…and I always end up feeling sluggish & guilty for a couple days afterwards.  

To help remedy that, it was a meatless dinner night tonight in our household.  More specifically, it was a “meatless appetizers for dinner” kind of night…I made crispy tofu with a trio of dipping sauces & served it with boiled edamame seasoned with sea salt.  And yes…you don’t have to say it…I realize that fried tofu does not equal a healthy meal.  But it’s not a steak, ribs, chicken, or anything else that once made a barnyard sound.  Plus, I had tofu in my meat drawer that I needed to use.  

Crispy tofu & peanut ginger dipping sauce.

Edamame are immature soybeans, which are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber & protein.  I love that our local big chain grocery store (Kroger) now carries edamame.  I normally have to look for it in the organic food freezer case.  I love having the option to get it on my regular grocery run without driving to my favorite international grocery store. 

Currently my Kroger carries Seapoint Farms Edamame

Just follow the directions on the package for cooking it—some varieties are parboiled & others require a longer boiling time until the pods are tender.  Drain & sprinkle the pods with salt.  To eat edamame, either take your fingers to open the pods to remove the beans, or use your teeth to pop the beans out of the pods.  You do not want to eat the outer pod—it is stringy, fuzzy & fiber’y.  Not good.     

You will want a spare bowl on hand for the empty shells to go into

Crispy Tofu
Serves 2-4, Prep time 5 min, Cook time 10 min

Ingredient Lineup. Simple & Quick
  • 1 package of firm or extra firm tofu
  • Corn starch
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt (optional)

1.  Remove tofu blocks from water.  Only remove the amount of tofu you will use (for 2 people as the only dinner entrée, I normally use a full package. For an appetizer for 2, I use 1/2 package).  Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes.  Dry tofu thoroughly with paper towels, gently blotting the excess water out of the tofu.

Whole slices from the package, excess water removed

Slices cubed. It doesn't hurt to dry off individual cubes.

2.  Place the tofu in the bottom of a quart/gallon storage bag, or on the bottom of a quart/gallon storage container.  Generously sprinkle top of tofu with cornstarch, & lightly sprinkle with salt.  Seal & toss tofu gently until evenly coated in a thin layer of cornstarch.  

Pre-coating with cornstarch

Post-coating with cornstarch.  You want a THIN
layer of cornstarch on the outside of the tofu.
Too thick, & the taste will be hard & metallic.

3.  Heat approximately 1-inch of oil in skillet until it reaches frying temperature (but do not let oil smoke/scorch).  Carefully add tofu to oil & fry until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. WARNING—beware of “exploding tofu.”  It can happen.  Sometimes there are small air/water pockets within the tofu that can expand & pressurize when frying. Normally the tofu will just splatter out into the oil a little bit & not jump out of the pan.  You can get a little bit of grease splatter with this though (similar to the grease pops  when frying bacon), so I would keep kids & pets away from the stove while cooking, and wear an apron to protect your clothing.

Tofu sizzling.

4.  Remove tofu from oil when it reaches a light golden brown color, or when the cornstarch breading feels firm.  Serve with dipping sauces.
Finished tofu.  I let the cornstarch get a little too thick on
a few of the pieces.

Trio of dipping sauces.  Front= Sweet & Hot Sauce,
Middle= Citrus Ponzu with Hot Sesame Oil,
Back= Peanut Ginger Sauce

Dipping Sauce #1- Peanut Ginger Sauce
Same recipe as the dressing for Colorful Asian Slaw

Peanut Ginger Dipping Sauce Ingredient Lineup

  • 1 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 2.25 t. creamy peanut butter
  • 1.5 t. soy sauce
  • 1.5 t. brown sugar
  • 1 t. fresh ginger, minced finely
  • 0.75 t. fresh garlic, minced finely


1. Warm peanut butter for 15-30 seconds in the microwave. Stir in other ingredients until well mixed. Serve.

Dipping Sauce #2- Citrus Ponzu with hot sesame oil
Ingredient lineup.  Super simple. 

  • Ponzu
  • Hot Sesame Oil, to taste

1. Stir ingredients together, serve.

Dipping Sauce #3- Sweet & Hot Sauce  (Siracha Honey)
Ingredient Lineup.  Again, simple.
  • 4 T. Honey
  • ¼ t. Siracha + more to taste
  • 1 t. water [optional]

1.  Warm honey in the microwave until thin & runny (approximately 10-20 seconds depending on microwave).  Add siracha, stir gently until well mixed.   If you want a thinner sauce, stir in 1 t. of warm water.  

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