Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sometimes I Make Fried Food -Fried Tofu Strips

A few weeks ago I learned that I have low iron. Not a huge deal, and actually it was nice to know why I am often so tired by Wednesday that I can barely get through the afternoon without a short nap at my desk. In addition to taking some supplements recommended by my very wonderful nurse practitioner, I purchased a couple of pieces of Lodge Pre-seasoned Cast Iron Cookware. The story of what I actually purchased is another post requiring pictures of said pieces of cookware and a wide angle lens. Why? Well, it seems I purchased a 15 inch skillet with a 3 inch edge that weighs about 82 pounds and could feed an entire boy scout troop dinner. The picture on amazon did not fully explain to me how menecing this thing is.

Back on track...After the first few cooking incidents (we shall call them incidents as I never burn anything, including my fingers, in my nonstick Calphalon). I finally started to get the hang of the cast iron this week -temperature, maneuvering the lids and hot handles, cleaning burnt cabbage off the bottom. On Saturday night, I was faced with what to make for dinner and going out was not an option. I had 2 crowns of broccoli, a block of tofu and the regular pantry staples. Apparently, I approach dinner the same way they do on the show Chopped. Except, luckily, I don't time myself, or juddge myself half as harshly. I figured that I could handle making something fried that never would have worked as well in the nonstick pans.

I dediced on Fried Tofu Strips, steamed broccoli, and dippping sauces. I was going for a "chicken finger" kind of consistency with the tofu andI think I accheived that. They were pretty darn tasty. I would definately make them again, and would probably expand the sauces, as I was a bit lacking in the creativity there. It was a fun Saturday night supper though.

Fried Tofu Strips
1 block of extra frim tofu
2 Cups of Panko (spiced up- using a smattering of garlic powder, cayanne, salt, nutrtional yeast, celery seed, and pepper. And no, there was no method to that madness.)
1/3 Cup of Soy Flour (I'm guessing any flour would work)
1 egg replacer egg mixed with 2 TBS of Soy milk
Olive Oil for pan frying

I will start by saying that this recipe will make a ton of dishes and will seem like a lot of steps, but is actually quite easy.

First step is to prep the tofu. You'll want to press your tofu and then get all the water out, which will make frying a much more enjoyable experience. I like to cut mine into about 1/2 inch slabs and then I press them between a stack of cutting boards. I stack them up and walk away for a while. (Or you could do this) Then cut the tofu into 1/2 inch strips. Take a paper towel and gently sqeeze the remaining water out of each strip.

Step two is to set up a place to put the done pieces. Preheat your oven to 350. Take out a jellyroll pan and a cooling rack. Place the cooling rack over the jellyroll pan and throw that in the oven. This is where you will place the fried tofu. It will allow the extra grease to drip off and keep the piece warm and crispy.

Then, just like Mom used to do...well maybe that was only my mom....set up your assembly line. Take a plate and coat it in flour and set aside. Take a bowl and mix your egg replacer and soy milk and set aside, perferrably next to the flour plate. Finally take a medium sized bowl and mix up those panko and spices.

Heat a pot on the stovetop on medium heat and coat it with olive oil. And don;t skimp on the oil. We're frying here. Now set up your assembly line. Take a tofu strip, coat it in flour, dunk it in the "egg", and dredge it in the panko. Then set the covered soggy tofu in the pan and fry each side until they are crispy and golden brown. Once it is done place it on the rack in the oven.

Repeat until they are all fried up. Like I said, pretty easy, but lots of dishes, and fun to eat.

I served them with an "assortment of dipping sauces". This was actually Spicy Ketchup (ketchup mixed with Hot Sauce), Trader Joes BBQ Sauce, Goddess Dressing, and some Kens Sweet Onion Salad dressing. Had I been planning better, I would have taken the time to get creative on the sauce front. Any ideas?

*and now I also realize that the only picture taken of this meal with with the husband's blackberry. Maybe he can email it to me ;)


Maris said...

This sounds so good! I bought tofu once and put it in a stir was good but I think there are probably ways to make tofu tastier and this definitely sounds like one of them.

Melissa said...

Thanks! We really enjoyed them. There are definitely many ways to make tofu great. I should do more tofu tutorials.