I feel like I should just title this mini series “food things my friend Laura wants to learn” — cause well, every time I make one I think *WWLW*— you know, what would laura want. This is the first thing she asked me for, tofu: how to fry it. It’s something so basic, but so commonly messed up. It took me a bit of practice to get the perfect technique down and not have it stick to the pan, break apart, etc. But now it’s easy peasy. So maybe you’re like us, and you don’t eat tofu often enough to be a tofu master— and you’re hesitant to buy a block because you’re nervous you’ll destroy it— well, hopefully this super basic food how to, will help you with your next block of tofu. 

you’ll need: 
block of firm or extra firm tofu
oil, any high heat oil is fine. 
one frying pan
sharp knife
thick kitchen towel/rag, the more absorbent the better*
something really heavy and flat bottomed
*can you use paper towels? sure, most people do, but it wastes a lot of paper. use cloth, save a tree (and some money). 
preparing your tofu:
-carefully open package of tofu, without breaking tofu
-drain out water
-carefully wrap your block of tofu in kitchen rag
-place heavy item carefully on top (I typically use a dutch oven pot or flour jar) and let sit on top of wrapped tofu for at least 20 minutes. 
-unwrap tofu and slice into strips, squares, triangles, whatever— I’d recommend somewhere around 1/2 inch thick slices.
frying your tofu:
-coat bottom of pan with generous amounts of oil.
-heat pan/oil to med – medium/high heat.
-once hot, carefully place tofu on skillet*
-allow to cook for four minutes— DO NOT fuss with it! Let it cook! This is important. Fussing with it too early will result in the tofu not getting a nice crisp and making it stick to the pan/crumble apart when you try to move it. 
-take spatula and carefully try to slip it underneath tofu— after the four minutes, it should be pretty easy to slide it under and flip. If it’s not easy to flip, wait another minute. 
-allow tofu to fry for at least another four minutes or other side— depending on the amount of “fry-ness” you want. Sprinkle with salt. And tada! You’re done! 
*please be careful! water thats left in the tofu will cause the oil to splatter— it’s hot, it hurts. keep hungry kids (and friends) out of the way. 
eating your tofu:
-eat it fast— before marlowe (or laura) finds you and eats it all. Enjoy.
how to: cut and cook an artichoke 
cut a mango
cut an onion


  1. Thank you thank you thank you! We always buy the smoked stuff because I have never known what to do with the plain packet stuff – but I'm going to give it a go now! x

  2. I usually follow all these steps except pressing tofu, which I've done only a few times but didn't really notice much of a difference (shrug). Maybe I should try pressing again….

  3. Weighing it down is a good tip. And thanks for linking to your earlier posts, I like to refer back to the artichoke one sometimes, they're tricky things, and I've got a few at my allotment that are ready to eat.

  4. I used to think pressing tofu is just a waste of time, but it makes all the difference.