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Freezing Tofu for Texture - By Z

I originally posted this to Flickr on September 2, 2009. I had just bought a G1 (a T-mobile phone running Android) and it had a 2 megapixel camera. I was so excited because I thought that meant I could start a food blog because I finally had a camera. Unfortunately, this picture stifled all of those dreams.

However, despite this picture’s lack of… quality, the motivation behind taking it remains. This was the first time I had made tofu at home that I was proud of. And the trick? Freezing it!

Most people’s complaints about tofu comes from texture rather than taste, because, well… tofu has little to no taste. It’s basically a little pressed soybean sponge. Every time I made it at home, it either fell apart or was too slimy. Even if I pressed it between two paper towels, it still retained the water that led to those problems. The solution?

Freeze it!

Buy the firmest kind and you can either drain it and freeze it or just freeze it in the container it comes in (though I haven’t frozen it in the container before). It’s going to turn yellow, so don’t be alarmed by that. Then, thaw it out and you’ll have a piece of tofu that is ready to crumble on salads, stir fry, or, as I did, dredge it and fry it.

Tofu Strips with Lemon Garlic Dill Aioli

Frozen tofu = wonderful texture.

  • Tofu, Extra Firm
  • Marinade – soy sauce, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, sriracha (that’s what I used, you can make whatever the hell you want)
  • Egg
  • Dredge – flour or cornstarch, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper
  • Lemon Garlic Dill Aioli – I kinda faked this and it came out super super garlicky. Not that that’s a bad thing.
    • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
    • Half a lemon’s juice plus its zest
    • A teaspoon of dill (of course fresh is better, but dried is fine as well)
    • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced or pressed

Thaw out the frozen tofu. Now you have thawed tofu. Good for you. If it’s not already sliced, slice it in the shape you want them. Marinate it up. The tofu will soak up the marinade pretty easily, so you can marinate it for as short as an hour. Then remove, and shake off the excess marinade.

Now, beat the egg until you see little bubbles in it. Combine the ingredients for your dredge (it should be primarily flour or cornstarch with however many of additional spices you’d like to add). Dip the tofu in the beaten egg, shake it off, and then dip it in the dredge.

You can set them on a paper towel if you want to get them all ready to go before frying or you can have your pan ready to go. Fry each side until it’s golden brown, then set them on a plate with a paper towel on it to get rid of the excess oil.

You can dip ‘em in damn near anything you want, but the picture above has what I call an aioli, even though it isn’t an aioli at all. An aioli has garlic and olive oil. I guess you could put olive oil in this, but whatever. The mayo is already an emulsion, so you don’t need to make another one. But I digress. Make your “aioli” by just mixing together the mayo, the lemon juice, the lemon zest (if you don’t have a zester, use the small side of the grater and get as much of the zest as you can without getting to the pith), the dill and the garlic.

Pretty good appetizer. It might even be enough to convince someone that hates tofu that it isn’t so bad.

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