Friday, September 21, 2012

[recipe] crispy tofu tacos

i used to be a tofu weenie.

i thought it was bland and mushy and kind of gross.  i tried to eat it sometimes, but the most i could do with it was scramble it.  it was a poor, watery, turmeric-flavored substitute for the delight that is scrambled eggs.

people kept telling me, "you have to cook it differently!  try frying it!"

but i was afraid of frying things.

fry it?  in oil?  you must be insane.

(this was back when i was extremely calorie-conscious, which explains why i was trying to choke down flavorless tofu in the first place.  back in those dark days, i would do ridiculous things like eating measured portions of carrot sticks and saltine crackers topped with salsa.  my special breakfast treat was the "toast" i made by spraying both sides of a slice of bread with cooking spray and warming it in a nonstick pan.

it was disgusting, and tasted like the inside of a can.)

eventually, i got over my fear of fat (although i have yet to deep-fry anything), and started to branch out more.  life got a lot better.

(fat = flavor, people.)

and once i learned to press and (lightly! don't freak out!) fry tofu, meat substitutes became a lot more appealing.

allow me to demonstrate.

crispy tofu tacos

from here

1 block extra-firm tofu
3 TBS taco seasoning
1 1/2 TBS dried oregano
butter or oil for frying
your desired taco accoutrements

Drain and press your block of tofu.  I do this by placing the tofu between several layers of napkins or paper towels, and weighing it down with a cast iron pan (or some equally flat and heavy object).  You can press it for a few minutes or a few hours.  I probably did mine for about half an hour.

Heat a large pan and some butter (or oil) over medium heat.

Once tofu has been pressed, slice it into thin (about 1/2 inch) slices.  (You can also cube it, which would result in extra crispiness and flavor.  It is excellent this way.   However, if you are unenthused about flipping three dozen tiny cubes, slice it.)

Mix your taco seasoning and oregano in a small bowl.  Dredge your tofu slices or cubes in the spice mixture, and then place them into the hot pan.  Like so.

by the way, you'll notice i'm not frying the tofu in an inch of grease or anything.  i added just enough butter to keep the slices from sticking to my very old, very weathered, cast iron pan.
also, you can obviously use whatever type of oil you wish to.  i just think butter tastes good.

Cook the tofu a couple minutes on each side, or until crispy.  If your slices are big enough, you can remove them from the pan and place them onto a cooling rack so that they don't get mushy.

Serve taco style!  You can slice it into strips if your tortillas are small.  We ate ours with extra sharp cheddar, baby spinach leaves, and homemade guacamole (recipe: mash avocados with fresh lime juice and salt.  devour).

We also had a chopped cabbage salad on the side, drizzled with a delicious sweet chili dressing inspired by this one.


and here's the recipe that made me love tofu.


  1. I love tofu So much. The tofuxpress changed my life. It's a bit pricey but so worth it. I like to fry in coconut oil or sésame oil for asían dishes. Mama Pea has a baked versión with BBq flavors that i love. Thanks for sharing! Also it's really hard to comente with dañg spanish iPhone autocorrect, perdón los acentos!

    1. i haven't tried the bbq one yet! i love sesame oil, i think it has so much flavor.

      your spanish autocorrect makes you seem so cultured! ;) i love reading about your mexican adventures.