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Crispy Easy Tofu

For some reason, tofu has earned a suspect reputation. The trick is seasoning and cooking it correctly, but it's really one of the easier plant-based proteins. Whipping up a batch in the evening, even after a long day at work, is no biggie.

You will need a few basic items for the most hassle-free version: extra firm tofu, soy sauce, cooking oil, and a non-stick frying pan.

First, take the tofu out of its container and dry well by patting/wrapping with a paper towel. You want the surface to be crunchy, not mushy.

Next, cut the tofu into square that are about 1/2 inch thick. If you buy the containers that are split into two rectangles, you should cut that single rectangle into six squares. If the slices are too thin, the tofu will be overly crispy. You want fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Marinate the tofu in a Tupperware or shallow dish. The very basic lazy person's marinade is just straight up soy sauce and that works just fine. If you are feeling fancier and have time, you can step up your game with a basic teriyaki: soy sauce, chopped garlic, rice wine vinegar, and a little bit of something sweet like brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Conveniently, Trader Joe's has a pre-made marinade called Soyaki, which is good but a little to sweet in my opinion. Sometimes I'll add a dash of this to sauce sauce to dilute it.

Next, time to crisp the tofu. Heat a good amount of oil in a pan (enough to cover the bottom). Throw the tofu in the pan and cook until it's crispy enough for you--I like it to be just a tad bit burned! Flip over and crisp the other side. And that's it!

Serving ideas:

Over soba noodles with broccoli on the side

In a bowl with rice, kimchi, and sauteed bokchoy (with a generous shake of sesame seeds on top)

With pasta sauce and pasta (surprisingly delicious)

On its own for a snack, dip in a little extra marinade

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