Crispy Sesame Baked Tofu & Shiitake Mushrooms

Have you had trouble getting your tofu crispy by frying it in a pan? I have. When I fry it crumbles in the pan and rarely gets that crispy outer layer that I am going for. Well, it turns out, there is a better way to get the result we are after: coat the Tofu with cornstarch and bake it in the oven. Not only is this dead simple easy, but it works like a charm. Who knew?!

I made this recipe last week. I served it with rice and it made for a very easy and satisfying weekday meal. One surprise is that the roasted shiitake mushrooms came out crispy and had an almost bacon-like quality that added a nice texture and flavor to the dish.


Crispy Sesame Baked Tofu & Shiitake Mushrooms

crispy tofu.jpg

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • One 14-ounce box extra-firm tofu
  • 7 ounces shiitakes, stems trimmed of woody parts and thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil, divided
  • 4 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce, divided, plus 1 additional teaspoon for drizzling at the end
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • Chives, for garnish

Directions:

At least 30 minutes (and as many as two or three hours!) before you want to start cooking, press the tofu: Place a dish cloth or paper towels on a cutting board, then the tofu, then another layer of towels. On top of the tofu, place a board and some heavy objects to weight it down. Heat the oven to 400° F and line two sheets with parchment paper.

When the tofu is ready, cut it into 1/2-inch cubes and place in a bowl. In another bowl, place the sliced mushrooms. To each bowl, add 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and a pinch of salt.

To the bowl of tofu, add cornstarch, panko, and sesame seeds and stir to coat.

Spread the tofu out on one baking sheet and the mushrooms out on another. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping halfway through. When the tofu and mushrooms are finished, mix them together and drizzle with fish sauce, if you'd like, and remaining 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Sprinkle with chives and additional sesame seeds.

 

H/T to Food52 for the recipe.

Michael Liss