Easy Pan-Fried Tofu

This is the reliable old fallback for those rare time I make tofu rather than beans.  It’s great on top of grains, alongside a serving of greens, or added to a meal-salad.  It also works well as filling for a wrap or pita pocket.  And most important – the toddler likes it – so it passes the “yummy-finger-food” test as well.

What you need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil for pan-frying
  • 1 lb firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed*
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 2 tablespoons organic blackstrap molasses
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot is my usual for this)
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

What you do:

  1. Mix the tamari, water, garlic, molasses, sesame oil, hot sauce and vinegar in an 8″x8″ baking dish.
  2. Cut the tofu into 3/4″ cubes or slices and lay in a single layer in the baking dish.
  3. Marinate 3-24 hours (the longer it sits, the better the flavor), turning the pieces every now and again so they soak up liquid evenly on all sides.
  4. Heat a cast iron pan on medium heat until good and hot.  Add the olive or sunflower oil and then the tofu cubes.
  5. Stir and fry, flipping regularly until browned and crispy bits are happening on most sides.
  6. Pour the remaining marinade over the tofu cubes and keep flipping constantly until the liquid has evaporated and the tofu is glazed.
  7. Serve immediately.  While it’s best fresh, you can also cool and then keep covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
* If you’ve never pressed tofu, it’s time to start.  Why?  Because once it’s been pressed, tofu soaks up marinades way better!  How do you press it?  Wrap the block in a tea towel or dish cloth and stack a heavy pot (like a dutch oven; or a lighter pot with some tin cans inside it) on top.  Leave it like that for an hour or so and then unwrap and proceed with the recipe.

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