When people say they don’t like tofu, I raise my eyebrow and ask them a few questions. “It tastes of nothing” they say. Yes, tofu doesn’t really taste of anything. BUT first of all, did someone just hand you a chunk of uncooked, unseasoned tofu and you decided you didn’t like it? And if so, would you ever hand someone a piece of raw chicken meat and ask them to have a nibble and decide if they like it?!
Second of all, it’s actually a great thing that tofu tastes of nothing! It’s like a flavour sponge and can be marinated, seasoned, stewed, baked and fried to absorb as any flavour you have in mind.
That being said, this recipe is more about the crispy texture, with nothing but good ol’ salt & pepper to season. This is a super simple tofu recipe that’s one of my staples, because it’s so easy.
It can be made using either semi-firm or firm tofu and dipped in your favourite sauce or served with any kind of Buddha bowl. Like my delicious satay Buddha bowl pictured here (I’ll be posting the recipe for the satay sauce soon)!
A Quick Tofu 101…
If you’re not super familiar with the different varieties of tofu out there, there’s really only 3:
- Silken – this is like smooth and jelly-like in consistency and is typically used for blender recipes like sauces, smoothies and even desserts. It doesn’t hold its shape well so it’s no good for recipes such as this salt & pepper tofu.
- Semi-firm – this type of tofu is super smooth (like silken) but is set a bit harder so that it can hold its shape better in cooking. It’s my personal fave to use for this recipe as I love the contrast of the crispy outsides with the soft inside.
- Firm or Extra-firm – firm tofu is more “meaty” in texture and is more porous so it’s better for absorbing flavour. Therefore it should always be the choice for curries and stews. It’s also great for this salt pepper tofu and easier to handle since it’s less likely to fall apart while cooking.
**HOT TIP: If you freeze firm tofu, when it defrosts it becomes even more porous, making the texture a little less dense and increasing its flavour-absorption power!**
So, there you have it. I also had this salt & pepper tofu with my super lush vegan avocado aioli the other day… holy YUM. I hope this becomes one of your fave ways to enjoy tofu too.
Crispy, gluten free, simple and delicious!
- 300 grams tofu (semi-firm or firm)
- 1/4 cup fine corn flour
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked pepper
- 1/4 cup coconut oil *or other HSP oil - see note
Cut the tofu into sticks approximate 1.5cm thick, then press it gently between two layers of absorbent towel to remove excess moisture (no need to press it too hard - it doesn't need to be bone dry)
Place the corn flour, salt and pepper into a small jar with a lid and shake it like a Polaroid picture. Then spread it out onto a cutting board or large plate as evenly as possible.
Roll the tofu sticks in the corn flour mixture so they are evenly and generously coated on all sides.
Heat the oil in a pan over high heat then add the tofu sticks and cook for around 40-60 seconds on each side - rotating the pieces with a pair of tongs - till they are golden brown on each side.
Remove the tofu sticks from the pan and drain on a kitchen towel (or paper towel) for a couple of minutes before serving. Enjoy with your favourite dipping sauce!
*Any high smoke point (HSP) oil will work, but try to stick to the healthier options like coconut, avocado, peanut (or other nut oils) or light olive oil. Avoid vegetable oils and sunflower oils as these are generally very toxic due to the harsh processes used in their production.