This post has been sponsored by Nasoya. All opinions expressed are my own.
Today we’re preparing a recipe that’s among my favorite uses for block tofu, particularly extra firm tofu – and we’re doing so with a little (a lot) of help from our friends over at Nasoya, US’s top producer of organic, non-GMO tofu products.
That said, we’re making ‘Tofu Steaks,’ which we’ll first be draining, and then breading in panko before pan-frying to crisped golden perfection, and then serving alongside a spicy soy dipping sauce. These are perfect as a side to things like dinner-sized dumplings and soups, or as a meal unto themselves alongside salads and rice. Easy to prepare, high protein and low in calories, this is a meal – or side or starter – that you can truly feel good about preparing for your family.
Now, without further delay, let’s get right to it.
Ingredients – Notes and Tips
1) The Tofu. The ‘meat’ of today’s recipe. Given that we’re pan-frying the tofu, and since we want only minimal absorption, we’ll be using extra firm tofu. That said, prefer Nasoya for my tofu products. The leading brand in tofu in the US, Nasoya has been producing tofu since 1978, all of Nasoya’s tofu products are organic, including Organic Extra Firm Tofu, Organic Firm Tofu, Organic Silken Tofu, and Organic Super Firm Tofu.
2) Garlic Powder vs Fresh. As I’ve stated in previous posts, the real difference between dried and fresh herbs comes down to dried herbs packing a much more concentrated ‘punch’ of flavor in much lower qualities, and being less ‘bright’ and ‘fresh’ in their flavor profiles. However, we’re using powdered garlic largely because we want the super-fine texture, as ‘clumps’ of grated or garlic would simply be an unpleasant addition to the coating, and also to avoid added moisture – as even very finely grated fresh garlic still contains a fair bit of moisture, which would imbalance the recipe.
3) Panko – For Crispy Perfection. While you can use regular breadcrumbs if preferred, or if that’s all you have on hand, I’m using Panko breadcrumbs because they crisp up so beautifully and crunchy, giving today’s recipe a nice outer layer of ‘crispness,’ which contrasts deliciously with the soft and spongy tofu interior. Panko is a type of Japanese breadcrumb produced from crust-less, coarsely ground bread, which while traditionally used for deep fried recipes, also works great in both pan frying and oven baking as well, in order to achieve a ‘deep fried’ crunch.
Tofu Basics – A Primer
1) What is Tofu, really? Tofu is simply condensed soybean curd. Since soybeans are virtually tasteless, tofu is considered one of the most ‘flavor neutral’ foods available. For this reason, tofu is a great ‘carrier’ of flavors, since when cooking with tofu you needn’t account for the taste of the tofu itself in the recipe, and can instead rely on the tofu to simply ‘carry’ or ‘take on’ the flavors that it is being prepared with.
2) Be Health-Minded in Selecting Your Tofu. It’s easy to think that your ‘being healthy’ simply by virtue of opting tofu. Sadly, this is not the case as not all tofu is created, or sourced, equally. Today, most of the world’s soybeans are grown in the US, and well over ninety-percent (!) of those soybeans are produced using GMO methods. This is another big reason why I love Nasoya products, as they are among a very select few producers of natural, non-GMO tofu.
2) Can I freeze it? Yes, tofu can keep for up to three months in the freezer. If you purchase tofu packed in water, ‘do’ drain the water first, then wrap the tofu in plastic, or place it in an airtight container or freezer bag before freezing. Do remember, however, that frozen tofu becomes ‘firmer’ after freezing, and will also be somewhat ‘dryer,’ and may lose its signature ‘spongy’ texture.
3) Preparing Water Packed Tofu. As I explain below, you need to ‘press’ the tofu between two sheets of paper towels if using water-packed tofu. I do this by wrapping my tofu in paper towel, and then placing it on a tray beneath a small cast iron pan. This drains the tofu of water, and as a result if you skip this part, the tofu will instead drain all of its excess water during cooking, and possibly break apart in the process. Not fun.
4) Types of Tofu. Tofu comes in several varieties, with the most popular and widely available being extra firm, firm, and silken, in addition to super firm and regular. Some outlets and producers have their own labeled varieties, but most fall roughly into those categories, or are variations thereof. Super firm is the densest form of tofu, and as such is also the least absorbent, meaning it’s primarily used either to prepare dried tofu, or in roasted and deep fried dishes. Generally speaking, super firm tofu is only rarely commercially available, except via specialty outlets (such as Nasoya). On the opposite end of the popularity spectrum is extra-firm tofu. When you encounter cooked, pan-fried, or marinated tofu of any kind, you’re almost always encountering ‘extra firm’ tofu. Firm tofu is the next most popular variety, being great for marinating and then eating ‘raw’ in sandwiches, wraps, or as the ‘meat’ in lightly cooked stir-fry or light soups. Silken tofu, as the name implies, has a silky and moist texture, usually such that it defies being handled without falling to pieces. For this reason, it’s used for preparing things like smoothies, dips, or as a replacement for cheese in various recipes, in particular cream cheese and ricotta.
5) Protein Content. Tofu has been recognized as a valuable source of protein for nearly a thousand years. In fact, tofu was spread across Asia from China chiefly by traveling Buddhist monks who favored it as a staple protein in their wholly vegetarian diets. Roughly eight percent of tofu’s total mass is protein, alongside high levels of folate, vitamin K, and assorted minerals, making it a nutrient dense food, meaning it is a nutrient dense food at less two-hundred calories per cup.
Crispy Tofu Steaks with Spicy Dipping Sauce
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- (2) 14 ounce packages Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu
- 1 cup AP flour
- 2 eggs plus 2 tablespoons water, beaten
- 2 cups Panko
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Oil, for frying
For the dipping sauce:
- 2 tbs. Teriyaki Sauce
- 2 tbs. Soy Sauce
- 1 tbs. sesame sauce
- 1 tsp. chili paste
For the dipping sauce:
- Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce and stir.
For the tofu steaks:
- Wrap each tofu block in paper towels and place on a baking sheet. Place a heavy pan on top of the tofu to drain the water out. Leave for about 4 hours.
- Slice each tofu block into ½-inch thick slices.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and black pepper. Set aside.
- Whisk eggs and water in a separate bowl for you egg wash. Set aside.
- In a third bowl or dish, mix panko with paprika and garlic powder. Begin dredging the tofu in the flour, egg wash, then panko mixture.
- In a large frying pan, heat oil to about 300-325 degrees for pan frying. To test, simply insert the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. If the oil bubbles, it is ready for frying.
- Fry each tofu cutlet until golden and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined tray or plate. Serve alongside sauce. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1
They look really crunchy and delicious!
DAVID J MYERS says
Catherine, Interesting tofu primer...but it just doesn't appeal to me. I'm an old timer and I'm sticking to the real thing as long as its legal. One of my wife's sisters has a vegan son and daughter in law so it's tofu turkey time at Thanksgiving! Yikes! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave
Cristina Petrini says
But how much do I like these delicious but at the same time home-made recipes? Yummy!
That looks so good! I love tofu. I've used it in a lot of different ways, and that ability to use it in so many ways is what makes it so great.
im trying to get my family in a more plant based diet for th week and this look like something theyd enjoy!
The recipe is so yummy and I hope to give it a go in this weekend.
Sue-Tanya Mchorgh says
This crispy tofu steaks looks so yummy. I love that it comes with a sauce. This looks like something I would enjoy.
Pati Robins says
oh yum !1 they trully looks oh so mega yummy , will be trying your recipe
Monica Y says
Those look so good, I need to try to make some as appetizers for our next party. We love tofu
Ashley R says
I have honestly never tried Tofu, but if I did I would want to eat it just like this. It looks wonderful.
Natasha Romero Salas says
Wow! This looks delicious! I love how crunchy it looks and how there is a soy dipping sauce. Me and my cousins will be making this very soon!
Cindy Batchelor says
I can't wait to try this! I love tofu! Thanks for an awesome vegetarian recipe to try! Yay!
Yeah Lifestyle says
This sounds like such a delicious dish. I never really know how to serve tofu so will be trying this recipe for sure.
That looks real good! Yum!
Serena R Hale says
Panko is my favorite. I had some panko breaded chicken yesterday. So yum. Tofu is more and more becoming a part of my diet.
Dan "Jay" Reyes says
I don't eat tofu that much but I know it's a very healthy food for the body. I better start eating more tofu :). BTW, thank you for sharing your recipe and your cooking style.
We only cook meat twice a week at home and I’m always looking for meat-free options. These crispy tofu steaks look delicious and are a good alternative.
katrina Kroeplin says
this looks amazing. i'll have to try it out.
This is an amazing way to eat tofu! Thanks for sharing your recipe.
For me, tofu is an ingredient that needs a bit of love to help it along the way - and this recipe delivers BIG time. So delicious, the most enjoyable tofu dish I have ever had!
I really loved it! The dipping sauce is amazing!
I love how easy it is to flavor tofu! These cook up so easily!
My kids and I love tofu. This will be a fun new way to try it. Thanks for the tofu steaks recipe! It will be perfect for our Meatless Mondays.