Kelvin and I went grocery shopping this weekend and we sort of decided to do a bit of a detox from meat. Lately we haven’t really wanted to cook meat and I’m completely fine with not cooking meat this week! I’ve never loved it that much partly because:
- I’m concerned about undercooking certain meats that can’t be served medium rare.
- We usually store our proteins int he freezer and defrosting is just a hassle.
- It takes longer to cook… and sometimes you just want a quick meal.
So that decision led to this vegetarian dinner of sesame crusted tofu with a side of roasted veg.
Let’s start with the tofu. I didn’t know this tip, but it makes sense, and it is that one should remove as much of the water content from tofu before frying it. It means less oil spit-back and also a crispier end product. To do so, I cut the firm tofu into approximately 1/3″ thick slices and sandwiched them between paper towels and placed them between two baking sheets. Make sure you buy firm tofu, otherwise if you buy silk tofu it’s going to fall apart once you try to extract the water. Then place something heavy onto the baking sheets and let the tofu sit for about an hour. You’ll see that your paper towels are now soaked and tofu dry. Brilliant!
Now you set up your dredging station. For station 1, you need 1 egg and 1tsp of water whisked together. In station 2, mix together 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs and 3 tbsp sesame seeds. First off, please please please use panko. Panko is a Japanese breadcrumb and it’s so much lighter in texture that it’s perfect for this recipe. It’s also neutral in flavour. For the sesame seeds, you can use black or white, depending on what you have on hand. I preferred white sesame seeds because of the colour and it fried up nicely with great colour.
Now comes the fun part. My #1 tip is to keep one hand clean and one hand dirty. Read that as, use only one hand that’ll get messy when dredging. So go ahead and drop the tofu into the egg mixture. This will allow the panko mixture to adhere to the tofu and give it a nice coating. After the tofu is covered in egg, drop it into the panko and get it all covered and coated. Then either set it aside on a different plate, or just on the side of the bowl, until you’re ready to fry it up.
For frying, use canola oil or any oil that has a higher burning point. Do not sue olive oil. When olive oil burns it takes on a bitter flavour and is not so pleasant. You won’t need a lot, just enough to to coat the entire bottom of the pan/pot you’re frying in, about 3mm. I like to fry in my dutch oven because it has high walls and the oil won’t splatter all over the counter. I turned the heat to high to get the oil heater through, but found that it was too hot because my tofu was browning too quickly, so I just turned it down to med-high. Work with your stove and play around to see what temperature works.
Now I won’t say I’m a pro at frying stuff because as you can see, my first batch came out a little more burnt than I would have liked. Thankfully, it still tasted awesome. After frying, lay it on a paper towel lined plate/baking sheet until you’re ready to serve.
As for the roasted veg, it is really really simple and it tastes really really good every time. It’s the same as my first DOTN, where you just cut the veg into similar size pieces then slather in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast 400F-425F for 20-30 minutes and voila, delicious veg!
Put it all together and you have a scrumptious dinner. Serve with sriracha or sweet chili sauce for dipping or just have it as it. Delicious either way.
Thanks for reading and have a great day!