Ramen is one of those dishes that you can keep on adapting and changing. It’s delicious with just noodles and vegetables, but add on a protein and you have something spectacular. Fast and filling, ramen is a perfect weeknight meal.
If you want to add tofu to your ramen, there are a few ways you can go about it. The easiest method is to add cubes of firm tofu directly to your broth. Or for a crispy texture, try frying or baking your tofu.
Whether you want to add new proteins or boost the flavors of your ramen, there are many ways to cook tofu for ramen. In this guide, we’ll cover some of the most popular options.
Cooking Tofu In Ramen Broth
The easiest way to cook tofu for ramen is to cook it directly in the broth. This will result in a chewy tofu that has absorbed the flavors of your ramen broth. Use firm or extra firm tofu. Silken or soft tofu will fall apart in the bowl.
Begin by pressing the tofu using a tofu press (or a weighted object). Pressing the tofu squeezes out the excess moisture, leaving a denser and drier interior. When you add pressed tofu to your broth, it will absorb more of the flavor.
Next, dice your tofu into ½ inch cubes. You want bite-sized pieces that will add a new texture to your ramen.
Once you have your ramen broth prepared, add your raw tofu! It only needs to cook for a few minutes in the hot broth. During this cooking process, the tofu will take on a delicious soft and chewy texture as the flavors of the broth are absorbed into the body.
Boiling tofu in the broth is a quick way to add a protein boost to your ramen. The tofu doesn’t really bring any extra flavor to the ramen with this method. However, it does layer the textures and intensify the taste of the broth.
Frying Tofu For Ramen
If you prefer your tofu with a crispy outside, you can try frying it for ramen. The main advantage of this method is that it’s quick and versatile. The tofu is cooked in a separate skillet and arranged on top of the ramen dish before serving.
You need to use firm or extra firm tofu for frying. Extra firm is best, but firm will work if it’s what you have access to. Do not use silken tofu. It won’t crisp up, it will only turn to mush.
Begin by pressing the tofu. You can’t skip this step, or the excess moisture will prevent it from going crisp.
Once the tofu has been pressed, dice it into bite-sized cubes. Give these cubes another quick blot with a kitchen towel to remove any more moisture.
Heat a mixture of olive oil and sesame oil in a skillet. When the oil is hot, add the tofu in a single layer. Allow the tofu to cook for a few minutes on one side, until golden.
Then, flip the tofu, and cook it for another few minutes on the other side. Repeat until the tofu is browned all over. Use chopsticks to flip the tofu and be careful! The hot oil can splatter.
When the tofu is browned all over, you have two options. You can add the tofu directly to your ramen. The crispy texture will play well with the soft noodles in the broth.
Alternatively, you can coat the cooked tofu in a sauce. For an easy seasoning, combine toasted sesame oil with soy sauce.
Add the sauce to the pan with the cooked tofu and cook for roughly two minutes, until warmed through and clinging to the tofu. Place the tofu on top of the ramen and enjoy!
Baking Tofu For Ramen
Our final method of cooking tofu for ramen is baking. This method is hands-off and results in a super crispy finish. However, it’s also the most time-consuming method and requires some prep.
Again, you need to use extra firm or firm tofu and press it until the moisture is removed. Don’t attempt to use silken tofu, as you won’t get good results.
As you press the tofu, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (Approximately 200 degrees Celsius).
Take your drained, pressed tofu and cut it into bite-sized chunks. In a bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Toss the tofu chunks in the sauce mixture.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cornstarch over the tofu and toss until the pieces are fully coated. The tofu might fall apart slightly, but that’s fine.
Arrange the tofu chunks in an even layer on a lined baking sheet. You don’t want the tofu pieces touching, or they won’t crisp properly! Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden all over.
When the tofu has turned golden, you can add it directly to your ramen. Alternatively, toss the crispy pieces in your chosen sauce.
Tofu is a delicious addition to ramen. There’s minimal preparation needed if you want to enjoy tofu in ramen. Just press, slice, and boil in the broth!
But if you like your tofu with a crispy finish, try frying or baking it first.
The tofu will turn golden and crunchy on the outside, staying soft in the middle. Use as is, or finish with your favorite sauce for an extra flavor boost.
How do you like tofu in your ramen?
Frequently Asked Questions
You can potentially use silken tofu in ramen, but it’s unlikely to give you the result you’re looking for. Silken tofu is incredibly soft and tends to fall apart as it cooks.
If you want to use silken tofu, add it directly to the ramen broth. Don’t try to fry or bake it.
You don’t need to cook tofu before adding it to ramen. Pressed and drained firm tofu can be boiled in the ramen broth.
This will soften the tofu and allow it to absorb the flavors of the broth.
Alternatively, try frying or baking the tofu for a crispy finish.