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How can tofu be made crispy?

I was curious if you have a tried and true method for sauteeing tofu. Everyone in my family loves tofu and recently I've been experimenting with ways to make it on the crispy side when added to stir frys or sauteed veggies. My newly vegan sister-in-law suggested sauteeing it in brown rice syrup to get that crispy texture. I tried and didn't have much luck. Do you have any suggestions that have worked for you?----Jennie

I’ve been thinking about your tofu sauté question and have a couple of suggestions. Key is getting the tofu as dry as possible. A good way to do this is to put the whole unopened package of refrigerated tofu (do not freeze the silken, unrefrigerated varieties) into the freezer for at least two days. Take the package out and let it thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter. When you remove it from the package and drain it, you will see that the texture has changed and it has become very easy to squeeze out most of the liquid.

Once you have the frozen, thawed, and squeezed tofu cut into cubes or slices (and marinated if this is your plan), it helps to have the pan (and oil, if using) hot (but not smoking) before you add the tofu. Then, with heat on medium, leave the tofu in place for a while (5-10 minutes, depending on thickness?) before turning. I have often been too impatient to do this, but patience may be the key. A sure-fire way to make the tofu crispy is to roll it in coarse cornmeal or, in the case of a wonderful recipe I’ve tried by Susan Voisin, author of the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen blog, in chopped pistachio nuts. I’ll send you Susan’s recipe in a separate message. [ Here it is--]

I have had good luck making tempeh crispy using the patience method, and been somewhat successful in the case of tofu, but I’m not sure tofu can get as crispy as tempeh.-----Susan B.

Update to previous post: Since observing the cooking demo by Tal Ronnen at last year's VegFest and trying some of his methods, I would like to share his way of creating the effect of a no-stick cooking vessel. I have found that, for some reason, it works, and when combined with the patience method outlined above, is a good way to make tofu crispy and brown. It's simple: Place your pan on a burner turned to medium heat and sprinkle salt evenly over the bottom of the pan--maybe a quarter to half a teaspoon. Set a timer for 30 seconds. After timer sounds, add oil--however much your recipe calls for--and reset the timer for one minute. As oil heats and becomes more fluid, lift and rotate pan slightly to spread the oil evenly over the pan. When the timer sounds, add tofu (or any ingredient you want to saute) and proceed with your recipe.

after draining tofu well in a colander or on paper towels, i lightly coat it with corn starch or japanese "katakuriko" and fry in just a bit of oil in a pan..... another idea i have heard but not tried is to grind lentils in a coffee grinder to use to coat tofu before frying..