I decided to give another chance to tofu. Even when I was a vegetarian, I was not much of a fan. An exception was when my friend/ex-housemate from China was cooking it. She fried tofu with soy sauce and some unknown to me Chinese spices, and it was absolutely delicious. But I was somehow never able to repeat her success. I thought that maybe one has to be born Chinese to cook proper tofu.
Therefore, for me for all these years tofu stayed in the category: “perhaps-healthy”/ “a bit boring” / “I’d rather go for an egg or fish” type of food. This tofu recipe is, however, a total breakthrough. Even though there is nothing difficult about this method of cooking, tofu turns out to be tender and juicy, full of paprika and sesame flavors, with a pleasant crunchy crust.
The main secret is that you have to drain off the excess liquid out your tofu before cooking it. You’ll find step-by-step instructions below. This easy trick will allow your tofu to brown well, to become crunchy and at the same time to stay tender.
Furthermore, you won’t have to use lots of oil for frying! Why? Well, there are apparently two ways to achieve the crispiness in tofu: either you deep-fry it in lots of oil, or you drain the liquid out of it and pan-fry it in a little bit of oil. I certainly prefer the second option, because, besides the fact that it is obviously healthier, it is also safer. Meaning, that deep-frying is scary! All that smoky hot oil and spatters… no thanks!
First time I made these crispy tofu squares, I served them as a starter over an avocado and champions carpaccio. The combination of avocado, champignons, and sesame flavor is fantastic! To make it even more delicious I made a tahini-yogurt-lime dip, which perfectly compliments these tofu-bites.
Tofu squares also work great in salads. If you go for the salad option, just mix the ingredients that I list below with any kind of green salad and thin the dip with some water to make a dressing out of it.
Well, here is the recipe:
- 200 grams of tofu
- 4 large, fresh champions
- 1 avocado
- 1 tablespoon of white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds
- ½ teaspoon of paprika powder
- salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
- juice of half lemon
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of tahini paste
- 4 tablespoons of full-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 small clove garlic (minced)
- ¼ teaspoon of paprika powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- Slice avocado and champignons into slim slices, drizzle with lemon juice, sprinkle with salt and pepper, allow to marinate during you prepare the tofu.
- On a dry, flat plate mix sesame seeds, paprika powder, and salt.
- Cut tofu into 0,7 cm thick squares. Lay the tofu out in a single layer on several layers of paper towels. Cover with more layers of paper towels and press well, to remove as much water as possible.
- Coat the tofu squares in the sesame-paprika mixture.
- Set the pan over medium-high heat and add a little bit of oil. Wait until it’s hot. Add the tofu in a single layer. Pan-fry the squares on both sides until they are golden-brown. It took me about 2 minutes on each side to achieve a nice brown crisp, without letting sesame seeds to burn.
- For a dip: mix all ingredients in a blender or with a spoon. You can regulate the texture, by adding some extra water or lemon juice (in case you want to use it as a dressing rather than a dip)
- Place the pieces of champignons and avocado on a plate, top with crunchy tofu squares, drizzle with some olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley leaves.