The idea of baking tofu seemed like a very weird western adaptation of making tofu when I first heard of it. Tofu is meant to be fried, steamed, braised, or stir-fried. Who in the continent of Asia BAKES tofu? That just seemed quite blasphemous to me.
In the last year, I warmed up to it given I do not love deep frying anything, but I do love the crispiness that results from a good deep-fry. Deep frying oftentimes results in a lot of mess, lots to clean up (no one likes cleaning, even anal retentive cleaners such as myself), and the amount of oil required always seem so wasteful. So I thought I’d try baking tofu to get a “like fried” result to see how it turned out.
I took two blocks of tofu today and cut them into thin slabs, then took two cutting boards wrapped in tea towels and sandwiched the tofu between. Then, I placed my Dutch oven as a heavy weight on top of the sandwich to press out the excess liquid from the tofu. A couple hours later, I removed the tofu, cut them into small rectangles, tossed them with a little olive oil, cornstarch, salt and pepper, and laid them all out flat on a baking sheet and baked them for 15 minutes at 300 F. I removed them from the oven, flipped them all over, and baked them again for 20 minutes. The result was golden, crispy little rectangles that would easily soak in any stir-fry sauce, without the need for a ton of oil that I’d eventually throw out. I used only a tablespoon of oil for 1.5 pounds of tofu with the same result as deep frying.
I was pretty happy with myself, and after I posted it on Instagram, I realized others were impressed by this, too, and wanted to try this out. Baking tofu could be the next thing we all do to keep tofu tasty *and* healthy.