Soy-Glazed Tofu

Hands-On Time: 5min
Ready In: 15min
Yield: 4 small
Ease of Prep: Easy
Soy-Glazed Tofu See Larger Image

Ah, tofu. We eat a lot of it. It's inexpensive, it's incredibly good for you, our kids love it, and you can treat it like a blank canvas. The trick is to use tofu's mild sponginess to your own advantage, preferably by impelling it to soak up a lot of salt and butter. Hence the following, which is our current go-to recipe, and we eat it at least once a week. Allowed to brown in a pan with soy sauce and lemon juice, the tofu gets crispy-edged and tangily addictive. Just be sure to buy extra-firm tofu, since any other style will fall all to pieces in the pan -- especially "silken tofu" which has the texture of jellied library paste.



  1. Begin by wrangling the tofu into slices. Slice around three sides of the box's plastic cover with a knife, then hold the plastic over the tofu over the sink while the liquid drains off (picture the soy version of draining a can of tuna). Now peel back the plastic, take the tofu from the box, and cut it into 12 skinny slices.
  2. In a very large non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When it is foamy and very hot, lay in the tofu pieces to form a crowded single layer; if the first piece of tofu sizzles only noncommittally or not at all, give the butter another minute to heat up.
  3. Now brown the tofu undisturbed for around 5 minutes; when the underside is a deep golden, flip all the pieces and allow the other side to brown for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Now pour in the lemon juice and soy sauce, and shake the pan to coat the bottom of every piece with the mixture, then flip all the pieces and cook, shaking the pan, until the liquid is all cooked off and the underside of the tofu looks glazed and brown.
  5. Serve hot or at room temperature with brown rice and a salad. Leftovers are great cold as is, or sliced into skinny strips and sprinkled over a big green salad.
If you have time, and I only occasionally do, you can wrap the fresh tofu in a clean dish towel and weigh it down with something (a cutting board, say), to press more moisture out of it for a half an hour or so before cooking. This will make it fry a bit quicker and crisper, but honestly this recipe works just find with the tofu as is.
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In Their Opinion:

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making soy-glazed tofu

I had no idea what to expect with this recipe, since I've never made tofu for tofu's sake. Everything worked great, and the recipe instructions and blog entry about this were so amusing-it totally made me WANT to make this recipe. We did use her tip of pressing the tofu, but not for half an hour. I wrapped it in a clean cloth and put a heavy pot on top while I prepped the other ingredients, so maybe for 5 minutes? A lot of moisture came out, so even that amount of time was worth it. We served this as a snack, and gave the kids chopsticks (shaped like sharks and dinosaurs, no less) —I thought they wouldn't want to eat this so adding fun eating utensils would help them eat. The trick worked!

making soy-glazed tofu

Juan wants to try slicing the tofu the other direction and having it on a burger bun. I want to slice them thin and add them to noodles. So many ways to eat this!

making soy-glazed tofu

This was easy and delicious. I think that if it were just part of a meal Diego would have eaten more (and if he didn't think it was going to be sweet before he ate it). Four of us loved it and want to make it again right away.

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