Crispy Fried Tofu Sandwich

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Freezing and thawing extra-firm tofu and then wringing out its moisture makes the slabs more porous and receptive to the tangy pickle juice marinade in this craveworthy fried tofu sandwich. After a brief soak in pickle juice, the tofu is dredged in a spiced flour mixture, brushed with a hot sauce and mustard, and then dredged again and fried to yield the crispy, crunchy slabs for a satisfying vegetarian meal that gives fried fish sandwiches a run for their money.

Crispy Fried Tofu Sandwich
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Chelsea Zimmer / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Total Time:
40 mins
Servings:
4

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained

  • 1 ½ cups dill pickle juice

  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (such as Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce), plus more for serving

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 oz.)

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • Neutral oil (such as canola), for frying

  • Toasted hamburger buns, spicy mayonnaise, pickles, and shredded green cabbage, for serving

Directions

  1. Cut tofu slab in half horizontally to split. Cut each piece in half crosswise to make 4 (21/4- x 31/4- x 3/4-inch) slabs. Place tofu slabs in an even layer in an airtight container. Cover and freeze 12 hours. Transfer tofu to refrigerator, and let thaw 12 hours. Wrap tofu slabs in a clean kitchen towel, and press down on tofu to remove any excess liquid. Pour pickle juice into a shallow dish. Add tofu slabs, and let soak 10 minutes, flipping tofu slabs once after 5 minutes.

  2. Stir together hot sauce and mustard in a small bowl; set aside. Stir together flour, cornstarch, black pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper in a separate shallow bowl. Pour oil into a large, heavy skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch; heat oil over medium-high until oil is gently rippling or reaches 350°F.

  3. Remove tofu from pickle juice, and pat dry; discard pickle juice. Working with 1 tofu slab at a time, dredge tofu in flour mixture, gently pressing to adhere. Tap tofu against bowl to shake off excess; transfer to a plate.

  4. Working with 1 floured tofu slab at a time, lightly brush hot sauce mixture all over tofu. Re-dredge tofu in flour mixture, gently pressing to adhere. Tap tofu against bowl to shake off excess; transfer to a plate.

  5. Carefully add tofu slabs to hot oil; fry until crispy and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes, using tongs to flip tofu halfway through cook time. Remove fried tofu from skillet, and place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle tofu with salt to taste.

  6. Serve tofu on hamburger buns with spicy mayonnaise, pickles, cabbage, and hot sauce.

Note

A standard 32-ounce jar of dill pickles, such as Mt. Olive Hamburger Dill Chips, should yield roughly 1 1/2 cups dill pickle juice.

Suggested Pairing

Fresh, peppery Austrian white: Domäne Wachau Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Terrassen

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