Yes I know that technically no one says “tofus” but I like the sound of it. Just like how I like the sounds of “shrimps” instead of “shrimp” when you’re referring to an entrée dish. I still won’t eat those shrimps, but I might giggle when you order, which is a heck of a lot better than the barely contained gag that usually follows a seafood order.
Now I was in a bit of a panic last night because, despite my six hours of baking on Saturday, nothing was presentable, and about 1/3 of it was barely edible. And that’s being generous. I’m pretty sure I know why everything failed, I was trying to catch up on my Grey’s Anatomy episodes and was blubbering my way through three of them while trying to bake at the same time. Learn from my fail: do not watch bad night-time soaps while you’re trying to bake. You don’t look pretty, your food doesn’t look pretty, and you’ll alarm your roommates by sobbing in the kitchen covered in flour. Yeah, it was a fun Saturday.
And because Saturday night I threw a huge surprise party for The BF’s big 3-0, I spent all day Sunday hungover, curled up in a ball catching up on my Biggest Loser episodes and half-heartedly watching football (Yay G-men you made it!). And well, there you have it. If you must know, the party was a huge success. However, Samson’s friend from England was visiting and for some odd reason made us do Jaeger bomb shots before we left the bar, and I’m pretty sure it was that one shot that ruined my Sunday and my suede purse.
But we all made it home with our pieces and important electronics and I’m going to call that a win. Despite the hours of moaning and farting and belching that followed on Sunday. (Isn’t that such a lovely picture for a food blog? I know, I’m so appetizing).
So I was scrolling through my phone to see if I had any pictures of food that I could post and whaddyah know, I did. Behold, panko crusted tofus! I adore tofu, but after my trip to China a year ago, I am now enamored with tofu and am resolved to visit Chinatown more often to get the good stuff. What they sell in grocery stores here is a sad imitation of tofu and honestly I can’t blame anyone who says they don’t like it. But lather that puppy up with some panko, Sriracha sauce and give it a quick fry, hello heaven!
*Just a note: You have to press the majority of the liquid out of your tofu before breading and frying so that it doesn’t completely fall apart on you. Starting this recipe overnight is best, but starting it in the morning before you go to work is also fine.
Panko Crust Tofus
Recipe that I cobbled together through much sad trial and error.
1 block of extra firm tofu
1- 2 cups panko crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1 egg beaten
1/2 – 1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
sesame oil for frying
Open the tofu package and drain the liquid. Remove the tofu block and place it on a plate on top of several layers of paper towels. A clean dishrag is also a good option. Place several more layers of paper towels on top of the block, or wrap the dishrag around it and place a heavy plate or pan on top. Weigh it down with canned goods or other heavy objects and place back in the fridge for several hours, preferably overnight, to let most of the moisture drain off.
Once the tofu block has drained, cut it into 1/2 inch wide strips. Now you have tofus. On a wide, rimmed plate, mix together your spices and flour. Keep your panko crumbs separate. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and place a baking dish on the middle rack to warm up.
Set up a workstation on the counter next to your frying pan so that once the tofus have been crusted you can drop them right in the pan. You’ll need a plate with the flour on it, a bowl with the beaten egg and another large rimmed plate with the panko crumbs. Heat your skillet over medium heat and pour in enough sesame oil to coat the bottom of the pan with a little extra to swirl around.
Pat dry a piece of tofu, coat it in the flour mixture, dip it in the beaten egg and then coat it with panko crumbs making sure to press the crumbs into the tofu so that they adhere securely. Your fingers will get incredibly messy, if this bothers you make sure you keep a towel nearby. Place the coated tofu into the pan and let fry for 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and place in the baking dish in the oven to stay warm while you finish the rest.
Serve immediately with veggies and a generous swirl of Sriracha sauce. Tofus can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. To re-crisp, heat the tofu in the microwave for 45 seconds. Then bake on a sheet in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes, until crisp.