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I know how to fry tofu to make it firm, and also how to dry fry it and marinade it to make it flavorful. Neither of these cooking techniques mimics the tofu I get at my local Thai restaurant.

When I order tofu there, it is perfectly fried to give it firm texture on the outside, but when you bite in, it's juicy and melts in your mouth, making the tofu experience much better. It literally blends with the other flavors this way and I can't figure out how they do it. I'll also note that the inside is not seasoned, it's the internal texture that makes it taste so good.

Is it the type of tofu maybe? Or the frying time? Any ideas?

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4 Answers 4

Try broiling it. Depending on how soft you want the inside you can pres it first too.

Veganomicon has a good "basic broiled tofu" recipe, but basically just put some soy sauce + oil on sliced tofu and stick it in the broiler for about 8 minutes each side, or until you get the desired texture.

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i get the soft tofu, then cut into strips and roll in panko. fry in a shallow pan like you would fried zucchini. the panko keeps the crusty outside, and the soft tofu stays nice and "gooey"

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Do you ever deep fry it, or are you always doing a pan-fry/shallow fry? Most of the tofu I see at Thai restaurants is deep fried, which yields the texture I think you are talking about. You may or may not be willing to deep fry at home, but I think if you do you'll get the result you are looking for.

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Most likely, they are using a softer tofu than you.

For whatever reason, the US is infatuated with unusually firm tofu, and supermarkets emphasize the "extra firm" varieties. In Asia, especially Japan and Korea, but even in China, most applications call for a softer, more custard-like tofu.

If it's soft inside, when you deep fry the tofu, it should stay fairly soft inside. The cornstarch or potato starch you coat it with will make the outer bits crispy.

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I see, thank you :) I will try this next time and post results. –  morgueanna Sep 22 '11 at 2:12
    
I should add that the fried tofu I've seen in Thai restaurants as an appetizer is generally fairly simply seasoned... Salt and Pepper is a good start, mixed in with the starch. I've also occasionally added bits of shiso when I wanted to make a more refreshing version of this to go with Japanese dishes. –  JasonTrue Sep 22 '11 at 4:18

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