There is a lot of confusing information out there about soy products. One camp argues that soy is a health food that could lower your cholesterol while the other camp says soy could contribute to breast cancer, interfere with thyroid function, and bring on early menstruation for girls (which freaks me out since my 2nd daughter was on soy formula for 6 months — hello mommy guilt). If you’d like to read about different sides of the story in a somewhat unbiased forum, I find this article the best: Soy: The Good, the Bad and the Best.
I think it all boils down to moderation with anything. I don’t eat tofu every day. I avoid processed foods that could contain excess soy, and I’m not scarfing down edamame at each meal. I do enjoy variety in my diet though, and this crispy tofu fits the bill when I just want to avoid a meal with meat but still would like to add some protein.
Tofu has been around for thousands of years, and yes, our soy bean crops are more genetically modified than ever, but a meal made from tofu once a month is not something I see as harmful to my health. You have to be the judge for yourself though.
I learned about coating tofu in corn starch before frying it up to create a crispy outer coating from some cooking show a while back. It really is the trick to getting the best consistency. Give it a try if you aren’t afraid of tofu. It is really good! I drizzle a bit of tamari (fermented soy sauce) on top of the finished tofu and sprinkle nutritional yeast on top to give it a deep, rich flavor. Yum!
Frying in coconut oil is truly the best way to go. It can take a high heat better than any other oil and really helps to crisp up the tofu squares. I like larger squares, but you can cut your tofu smaller if you’d prefer. Make sure you properly drain and squeeze the water out of your tofu so that you don’t get a lot of splatter!
What you need to make this crispy tofu:
1 package extra firm tofu, rinsed, drained and pressed to remove as much liquid as possible
3 Tbs coconut oil for frying
1/4 Cup corn starch
1 Tbs tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp nutritional yeast
Remove your tofu from the package and rinse it in cold water. Wrap it in several paper towels or a tea towel and set it on top of a plate. Add another plate on top and a weight of some kind (I used my sugar container) on top to help the water squeeze out. Let it sit like this for at least 20 minutes, but the longer you let it go the crispier your tofu will get. You can change out the towels if you need to.
Once your tofu is ready, set your coconut oil to melt in a large skillet over medium high heat. Slice your tofu into whatever size you like. I prefer 1/4 inch slices that are about 2″x 3″, but any size will work.
Coat your pieces in the corn starch and lay them in the pan gently to fry. Allow them to fry on one side for about 5 minutes, then turn them gently with a spatula to cook for about five more minutes on the new side. If you want them browner or crispier, they can go longer.
When your tofu is done, let the pieces drain on paper towels. While still hot, drizzle tamari on the pieces and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. This is so good! You could create lots of different sauces to top this with, but I like the simple taste that tamari and nutritional yeast gives this blank canvas. Hope you give it a try!