Oven-Baked Tofu

Someone once asked me how did you make the tofu so crispy? At first I was mystified, but then realised they must have meant the tofu that was baked in the oven instead of fried in a frying pan. I do it quite often these days as it’s more convenient to make in large batches and it does indeed end up having a nice, crispy texture. The secret is to deep freeze the tofu first for a day or two then thaw before cooking. The freezing creates these amazing minuscule bubbles that capture the flavour of the recipe. For best results use firm tofu similar to the kind that is often sold in Asian markets.

The other advantage of freezing it is that it’s easy to keep several blocks of fresh tofu in stock at one time.

Frozen-defrosted tofu with flavour-catching bubbles

Ingredients

300 g (1¾ cups) plain, very firm tofu
2-3 tablespoons (Kikkoman) soy sauce 
2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Method

  • Freeze the tofu for at least 48 hours, which should give enough time to create the bubbly texture.
  • Thaw before using – either soak in warm water for an hour or so, or take it out from the freezer the night before.
  • Gently press excess water from the tofu block, being careful not to damage it by squeezing too hard.
  • Cut into bite-sized cubes and leave to drip dry in a colander while the oven heats up.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 175 °C (350 °F).
  • Oil a large baking tray.
  • Combine the tofu with 2-3 tablespoons each of olive oil and soy sauce.
  • Distribute evenly over the baking tray making sure the tofu is in direct contact with the surface.
  • Bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until it crisps up to your liking. (Check after 15 minutes to make sure it doesn’t go too fast.)
  • Use a metal spatula to gently ease the tofu off the tray.
  • Add to any recipe at the end of cooking.

Tip: Add herbs and spices to the olive oil and soy sauce that match the recipe you are going to use the tofu in.

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