I have to admit, while I have eaten tofu a number of times, I have never attempted to cook with it, or prepare it at home. In my mind I guess I sort of reserved tofu recipes for vegan, and being celiac, didn’t really think it was something I would add into my diet. However, after tasting it so many ways in restaurants, and expanding my palette with GF recipes, I decided to give it a whirl.
I had to do a little research before I could jump in, as I honestly didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t even know which section of the grocery store to find tofu in, let alone know how to work with it or what to do with it. So began my quest.
I learned that there are varying degrees of firmness with tofu, ranging from a spread to ultra-firm, and the most ideal for what I was making was certainly extra firm. Spreads are typically better in things like dressings, dips, sauces, etc., and the more firm types are better for baking or frying, as they hold less water. Lesson one, check. I also learned that tofu is found in the refrigerated section of the market, but did have to ask the kind gentlemen at Community Natural Foods to point me in the right direction.
The next lesson came in the form of preparing the tofu, as there is some leg work required before you can and should start. As mentioned earlier, tofu is packed in and holds a great deal of water, so, in order to ensure that I could make my tofu as crispy as possible, I first needed to drain and soak up the excess liquid.
The last things I learned, were how to season and cook the tofu, and how to cut the tofu (as size and shape makes a difference) and just like that, I was a proud chef with new skills in the kitchen!
These crispy tofu strips end up tasting like crispy fries or chicken fingers, so even the kids will eat them right up!
Don’t let this recipe scare you off! It is fun to make, and allows a lot of creativity and flexibility with how you decide to eat the tofu (this will make more sense as you continue reading), and at the end of the day, it left me feeling excited for the next time I create a dish using tofu as the main ingredient!
Prep time: 1 hour to drain liquid from tofu, 45 min to prep & cook
- 1 pkg EXTRA firm tofu
- ½ cup milk or 1 egg white
- ¾ GF breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup GF flour
- Seasoning salt
- Dipping sauces as desired
You don’t need exact measurements for anything, as you are only basting and coating pieces, so amounts will vary.
- Remove and drain the tofu from packaging
- IMPORTANT: Line a plate with paper towel and place tofu block directly on top. Put another couple of sheets of paper towel on top of the block of tofu. Set cutting board or other large, flat surface on top of the covered tofu. Stack cookbooks or other heavy items on top to press out excess liquid from the tofu
- Every 15 min or so, drain excess liquid from plate, and continue to keep covered and pressed for about an hour, or until all of the extra liquid is out. The tofu block will appear slightly more condensed than when you started, which is what you want
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
- For this particular recipe, cut the tofu in ½” even slices, so that they are easy to bread and can lay flat on a cookie sheet
- Set up 3 shallow plates or bowls, one with GF flour, then egg white or milk, then GF breadcrumbs (mixed with seasoning salt)
- Dip each tofu slice in the flour, shake off excess, next into egg/milk to coat, then roll in breadcrumbs
- Place each piece of tofu on a parchment lined (or cooking oil sprayed) cookie sheet, in a single layer
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness of cut. You don’t want to overcook the pieces, but want them to crisp up
- Serve with dipping sauce of choice such as plum sauce, sweet chili, or honey dill