Crispy Marinated Tofu

1 block (14 oz / 400 g) extra-firm or firm tofu
Optional 3 to 4 green onions, coarsely sliced to fill the marinade (*Footnote 1), reserve green parts for garnish
Vegetable oil for pan frying

Marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons chili paste (or hot sauce you like) (*Footnote 2)
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch ginger, grated

Coating:
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt (Skip the salt if using doubanjiang in the marinade)
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Marinate (4 hr to overnight)
(Optional) Press the tofu gently using your hands or a few layers of paper towel to get rid of excess water. Use this step if you’re short on time and need to use less time to marinate the tofu. You can skip this step if you’re going to marinate the tofu overnight.

Prepare a container that’s slightly bigger than the block of tofu. Combine all the sauce ingredients in the container. Stir to mix well. Transfer 2 to 3 tablespoons of the marinade into a separate small bowl to use as a dipping sauce later.

Cut the tofu in half lengthwise, then into half-inch-thick squares. Transfer the pieces into the container by making them “stand”, so it helps the marinade to disperse evenly (see the blog post above to see how to arrange the tofu). Use your hand to gently separate the tofu slices, so all the surfaces will be in touch with the marinade. If the marinade cannot cover all the tofu, use some green onion (or white onion) to fill up the empty space in the container, so the marinade covers most of the tofu.

Cover to seal the container. Gently shake it. Marinate overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for at least 4 hours.

Cook
When you’re ready to cook, remove the tofu from the marinade and lay it on a few layers of paper towels to drain the extra liquid.

Combine the coating ingredients in a plate. Stir to mix well.

Prepare a big plate with a few layers of paper towels, for the cooked tofu.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a nonstick (or carbon steel) pan over medium-high heat until hot.
You might need to cook the tofu in batches depending on your pan size. While heating up the pan, coat each piece of tofu with the coating mixture and place it on a plate. You should only coat the pieces you’re going to fry immediately.

Carefully add the coated tofu pieces into the pan. Cook without moving until the bottom is browned, 2 minutes or so. Flip to cook the other side until browned, another 2 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium if the pan gets too hot and the oil starts to smoke. Repeat the process until you’ve fried all the tofu pieces.

Transfer the fried tofu onto the paper towel lined plate to drain the excess oil.

Serve the fried tofu with the reserved dipping sauce on the side and garnish it with chopped green onion. Enjoy!

Notes:
I put green onion in the marinade container so the liquid would rise high enough to cover the tofu. You can skip it if the marinade covers the tofu already.

Sriracha, Thai chili paste, doubanjiang, and any other type of hot sauce will work in this recipe. Note, if you use doubanjiang, skip the salt in the coating since doubanjiang contains a lot of salt already.

The nutrition facts were calculated based on an estimate of the amount of marinade that gets absorbed by the tofu.

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