I really like the fried tofu with a tough, almost crispy exterior that you can get in various Chinese dishes. And I’ve tried a range of experiments with tofu in the past, but with little luck in getting it out of it’s natural “I am a squishy sponge” state. It’s been a few years since I’ve attempted, so I tried again recently, and had much better luck, which gives me hope in someday mastering the art of fried tofu.
Josh came back from Texas recently with a range of delicious local sauces and rubs to try on meat. One of them, Frog Bones Sweet Mesquite BBQ Rub, tasted a heck of a lot like BBQ potato chips (specifically delicious ones) and I decided it had possibility to rub on all sorts of things.
(That picture is fuzzy. My kitchen has low lighting and my cellphone is several versions behind at this point.)
So I sliced up some firm tofu, dumped a bunch of rub all over it, mixed it up, and let it sit in it for several hours.
At that point, I cranked the heat up to medium, and pan fried them in, uh, pork lard. The “uh” is there because I feel like, in the US, there is very little overlap between “people who like tofu” and “people who like pork.” Welp, I live in that Venn diagram overlap, and tofu lightly fried in some lard is delicious.
Anyhow, I was pretty light on the lard, tossed them every minute or two, until the edges started to brown. I suspect that using a dry rub (versus using sauces, like I’ve tried before) was really helpful. The high salt content may have helped pull some of the moisture out. I think that, back in the day, since I ate tofu covered in sauce, for some reason I assumed it had to be cooked that way as well. In any case, the rub seemed to work well.