Battered and fried is one of our favorite ways to eat tofu - like most things! It gets crispy on the outside and custard-like on the inside, and it makes a great companion to chewy rice and crunchy vegetables. But this is a treat we normally save for eating out. When we're cooking a stir-fry at home, we use a slightly different technique.
For an everyday stir-fry or noodle dish, we use significantly less fat for cooking the tofu. We'll heat a few teaspoons of oil in a clean skillet or wok until it shimmers and flows to coat the bottom of the pan. Then we add the tofu in a single layer and let it sit without stirring. We shake the pan every few minutes until the tofu is golden on all sides, as in the photo of fried rice above.
This really just amounts to searing the tofu on all sides. It doesn't get as shatteringly crisp as frying it does, but the outside does form a thin crust and develop some savory flavor.
We also cook the tofu separate from other ingredients going into the stir-fry and then toss it back in at the very end. Tofu is delicate enough that too much stirring or jostling by other ingredients can make it start to crumble.
How do you like to cook your tofu?
(Image: Emma Christensen)