This is my mom’s recipe, and it’s a crowd pleaser. Everyone always likes it, no matter how much they (say they) hate tofu. Derek and I served it at Thanksgiving this year and everyone raved about it (and these were not a bunch of tofu eaters!).
Note: I’ve updated the ingredient amounts to reflect my mom’s note below.
Preheat the oven to 375.
- 2 Tbs. oil
- 3 lbs. firm tofu
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
- 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
- 1 – 1.5 tsp. salt (my mom likes it with the higher amount, and it does taste good, but it’s pretty salty)
- 1.5 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. dried parsley flakes (this can be omitted if you don’t have it–or substitute another herb like oregano)
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 4 Tbs. soy sauce
- 2 1/2 Tbs. water
- Oil two cookie sheets with 1 Tbs. oil each. (I usually use olive oil.) Do not use non-stick cookie sheets, or the tofu will not crisp up properly. Dark colored cookie sheets are the best–with lighter colored sheets the tofu doesn’t come out as well.
- Slice the tofu. Cut across the short side of the tofu, slicing it into 1/4 inch slices (try to get 12 slices per 14-ounce block of tofu, or 14 slices per 16-ounce block of tofu). Let the tofu slices sit while you make the breading.
- In a medium, low-sided bowl, mix together the flour, salt, nutritional yeast, and spices.
- In a small, low-sided bowl, mix together the soy sauce and water.
- Dip each slice of tofu into the soy sauce mixture and then into the flour mixture, covering each side, but shaking off any excess flour so they don’t turn out too “floury”. Place the tofu slices on the oiled cookie sheet. The tofu slices can be placed very close together, as long as they’re not touching they will cook fine. If you made 12 slices per block, you’ll need to fit 18 slices on each cookie sheet, so plan accordingly! (A tip for making the tofu–use your left hand for the soy sauce bowl and your right hand for the flour bowl and you won’t get nearly so glue-y.)
- Bake for 25 minutes on the first side, or until the tofu starts to brown and the flour no longer looks “floury.” Use a spatula to flip the tofu, and cook for another 10 minutes. When you flip them, the breading should be slightly browned. If the breading is sticking to the pan or coming off the tofu when you try to flip them that means they haven’t cooked long enough on that side. Also, when you flip the tofu, switch the top and bottom cookie sheets. The cooking time will vary somewhat depending on the color of your cookie sheets, the thickness of your tofu slices, and the water content of the tofu. Be sure not to overcook the tofu, as it will become tough and too chewy. The texture should be crisp on the outside and still a bit moist in the inside, not totally dried out.
Depending on exactly how thin you sliced your tofu, and how closely you place them on the cookie sheet, you may have quite a bit of soy sauce and breading mixture left, and possibly room left on your cookie sheets as well. No matter how many times I make this I never quite use the same amount.
The size of the slices is quite important–too thin and the tofu gets too crisp and kind of tough, and too thick and they don’t brown enough, but it will depend also on the brand of tofu you have. You might try varying the thickness a bit to see what works best with your tofu. I like to use Nasoya firm for this recipe. I find that White Wave firm is a little too firm, and is more likely to get tough. If I use White Wave I opt for the medium tofu rather than firm.
The flour can be replaced or cut with other types of floury substances. I’ve made a gluten free version before with a mixture of chickpea flour, rice flour, and cornmeal. My sister likes to make a lower-carb version using ground nuts and seeds. It’s quite flexible.
This is a pretty big recipe. I think 3 pounds of tofu will serve 6 to 9 people (6 pieces to 4 pieces each, 1/2 pound to 1/3 pound of tofu per person). Then again, I’ve served it at a dinner with four hungry people and had it all eaten up (9 pieces each, 3/4 pound of tofu per person!).
I often serve baked tofu with a yogurt dipping sauce–yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, and mustard. I’ve also tried it with a yogurt, cilantro, mint sauce, but I think it was a bit too overpowering for the mild tasting tofu. Here are working proportions for the yogurt sauce:
- 3/4 cup yogurt
- 1 medium garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tsp. mustard
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
This recipe always seems quite decadent to me, but it’s actually relatively low calorie when eaten in moderation. Of course, the challenge is to eat it in moderation. It is quite high in sodium though, and high fat and high protein (about 39% of calories, and 29% of calories respectively), so balance it out with some not very salty greens or salad, and a starchy vegetable or grain, and you’ll have a great meal.
Update March 2010: I made this recipe with 3 pounds of tofu, all the salt, and 3 Tbs. of water with 3 Tbs. of soy sauce. To the flour mixture I added 1/4 (maybe even 1/2?) cup of pepitas, which I grinded in my food processor. I also added some fresh minced parsley. I had about 42 slices of tofu I think. After coating all the tofu slice I still had quite a bit of soy sauce and breading left. I probably had enough breading left for another pound of tofu, or even a bit more. I cooked the tofu for 30 minutes on the first side and 15 on the second side. It came out really well. Derek loved it. I thought it was just a tad under salted. Next time I’ll stick with the original soy sauce to water ratio.
I served the tofu with the yogurt sauce described in the comments. The rest of our dinner was composed of roasted veggies (parsnips, sweet potato, cauliflower), and Berley’s quinoa salad.
Update April 2011: Derek made the baked tofu last week and he didn’t measure the oil and used a paper towel to spread it around. The paper towel absorbed most of the oil and the sheets ended up pretty dry. He also put a lot more flour on the tofu than I usually do. I usually try to shake each piece so that only a minimal amount of breading sticks. The result was that the breading didn’t cook very well and was quite dry.
Serving Size: 6 slices
|Amount Per Serving|
Kosher for passover version:
- about 44 ounces tofu (just over 3 14 ounce blocks plus 3 slices)
- 1 cup matzoh meal
- 1/2 cup almonds, ground to almost flour
- 1.5 tsp. salt
- 1.5 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbs. parsley flakes
- heaping 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1.5 tsp. paprika
- 3 Tbs. nutritional yeast
- sauce: 3 Tbs. soy sauce wheat free tamari
- 1.5 Tbs. water
Two cookie sheets (smallish, black) oiled each with 1 Tbs. oil. 375. 20 minutes first side (or just a few more minutes, until it flips without breading sticking), 15 minutes on the second side. Tofu packed back to back–no space at all between slices. As the tofu cooks it separates so it can be flipped. My mom says to cut each 14 ounce block into 18 pieces but I averaged only about 15 per block.
We had just enough soy sauce mixture for the tofu, but had about a cup of flour mixture left.
Update Feb 2013: I made this kosher for passover version again and the first tray of tofu turned out really well, but with the second tray when I tried to flip it the breading kept sticking. I’m not sure if it was because I was using a different cookie sheet (grey not black, higher sides) or because the first batch used up the smaller pieces of matzoh meal (which rose to the top of the bowl?) and the second batch had less “flour” to hold everything. together.