A simple meal of crispy pan-fried sprouted tofu, soba noodles, homemade broth seasoned with fish sauce, topped with scallions and my latest addiction: Lao Gan Ma chili oil with fermented black beans.
Crispy Pan-Fried Tofu: I used extra-firm sprouted tofu in this recipe. Place tofu in a clean dish towel, between two plates and put a heavy-ish object, like two cans of beans, on top. This will help to slowly press and drain out any extra liquid so the tofu can better absorb seasonings and not turn soggy during the cooking stage. Do this for about ½ hour if you’re pressed for time, but if you plan ahead, you can start this drying method in the morning, place the setup in the fridge, and by dinnertime, your tofu will be well-dried and ready to be seasoned/fried.
After the excess moisture is drained out, cut tofu into cubes or slabs. For seasoning, I quick-dipped the tofu in a mix of soy sauce and rice vinegar, then sprinkled everything with salt. Before frying, toss the tofu in cornstarch, which will help to crisp things up.
Coat the bottom of a nonstick pan with neutral oil. Over medium-high heat, pan-fry the tofu in batches, be careful not to overcrowd the pan or else the tofu will be steaming instead of frying. Cook each side for about 2-3 min (or more), depending on how golden you’d like your tofu to become. Place pan-fried tofu on cooling rack when done so the bottom side doesn’t become soggy as you cook the rest. Enjoy with noodles, in a rice bowl or salad!