This is a winner from Food & Wine magazine. I made it without the pickle juice, and it still tasted great!
Please note that this needs at least 24 hours of prep time, as the tofu needs to be frozen for at least 12 hours before cooking, followed by a 12-hour thaw in the refrigerator.
Draining and then freezing the tofu gives it the perfect consistency for frying, and it makes for a great sandwich.
What you’ll need:
- 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained
- 1.5 cups dill pickle juice (I skipped this step)
- 1T hot sauce, plus more for serving
- 1T Dijon mustard
- 0.33 cups flour
- 0.25 cups cornstarch
- 0.5t black pepper
- 0.5t kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 0.5t paprika
- 0.5t garlic powder
- 0.5t crushed red pepper
- Neutral oil for frying
- Optional: toasted hamburger buns, spicy mayonnaise, pickles, and shredded green cabbage, for serving
What to do:
Cut the drained tofu slab in half horizontally, then cut each piece in half crosswise to make 4 slabs. Place the slabs in an even layer in an airtight container. Cover and freeze for 12 hours. After that time, let it thaw in the refrigerator for 12 hours. When fully thawed, wrap the tofu slabs in a clean kitchen towel and press on them to remove any excess liquid.
Here’s what doesn’t make sense: the recipe calls for pressing out the liquid, but then soaking the tofu in pickle juice. I would not recommend this step, but here are the original instructions: pour pickle juice into a shallow dish and add the tofu slabs, letting them soak for 5 minutes on each side.
Stir together the hot sauce and mustard in a small bowl; set aside. In a separate shallow bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, black pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper. Don’t be afraid to double the amount of spices if you want.
Pour the cooking oil into a large, heavy frypan to a depth of 0.25 inches and begin heating it to 350°F.
While the oil is heating, remove the tofu from pickle juice, and pat it dry (if you did that step). Working with 1 tofu slab at a time, dredge the slab in the flour/starch mixture, gently pressing to adhere. Tap the tofu against bowl to shake off excess, then transfer it to a plate. Repeat for each slab.
Working with 1 floured tofu slab at a time, lightly brush the hot sauce mixture on the tofu (edges and faces). Re-dredge the tofu in the flour/starch mixture, gently pressing to adhere. Tap the tofu against the bowl to shake off the excess, then transfer to a plate. Repeat for each slab.
When the oil is at 350°F, carefully add the tofu slabs to the hot oil, and fry until crispy and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes, using tongs to carefully flip the tofu halfway through the 7 minutes. When it’s golden brown, remove the tofu slabs from the frypan, and place them on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Salt to taste.
Serve on hamburger buns with your favorite condiments.