Simple Trick For Transforming Tofu From Boring Blob to Crispy Nuggets of Goodness

tofu block

I heart tofu. Silky, chunky, extra firm, blobby, slimy, slurpy… I love it all. I get why many people don’t, but this simple trick might have them changing their minds.

In our house we prefer fresh tofu (the kind found in the refrigerator section floating in water in a plastic tray) over the unrefrigerated kind that comes in that folded cardboard block. Every time we buy fresh tofu we immediately put it in the freezer and let it freeze solid. Once frozen, we let it thaw in the fridge until we’re ready to cook.

At this point the tofu has transformed from the solid white block of blobbiness into something that looks more like a cross between a loaf of bread and a kitchen sponge. In other words, when you cut into the now thawed frozen tofu, you’ll see it has taken on a new texture making it lighter and chewier in texture. At this point the tofu will absorb much more of the sauce you’re cooking it in… i.e. it becomes a glorious sauce sponge.

To take things a step further, we cube the thawed tofu and pop it in the air fryer** or frying pan for a few minutes to crisp up the edges. Now you have a firm and crunchy tofu that is perfect for stir-frying or eating as-is with salt and pepper (think popcorn chicken style).

To take things a step even further from further, we’ll fry the plain cubes until crispy, then dredge them in sauce or marinade, then put them back in the fryer for a second blast of crispiness. It’s like, whoah!

Here’s what that basic block of tofu looks like after it’s been frozen, thawed, and nuggetized….

Fresh tofu that has been frozen and thawed (before frying).

Fresh tofu that has been frozen and thawed (before frying).

Close up of thawed frozen tofu showing the transformed texture. See, it looks like bread or sponge now.

Close up of thawed frozen tofu showing the transformed texture. See, it looks like bread or sponge now.

After  air frying  for 10-12 minutes without any oil or seasoning. It is now crispy on the outside and firm but soft on the inside.

After air frying for 10-12 minutes without any oil or seasoning. It is now crispy on the outside and firm but soft on the inside.

Once fried it can be tossed in sauce and eaten as-is, like with this barbecue tofu. Look at those specks of char… you know that tastes good!

Once fried it can be tossed in sauce and eaten as-is, like with this barbecue tofu. Look at those specks of char… you know that tastes good!

Once fried the tofu soaks up much more flavor than it would have if prepared as it comes from the store. Here we’ve added it to Thai green curry. The nuggets of tofu are firm yet also juicy having absorbed the spicy coconut milk soup.

Once fried the tofu soaks up much more flavor than it would have if prepared as it comes from the store. Here we’ve added it to Thai green curry. The nuggets of tofu are firm yet also juicy having absorbed the spicy coconut milk soup.

**Our fryer is the Philips Viva and it’s on Amazon for less than a hundred bucks. It has become our #1 most used kitchen appliance and it has allowed us to make our favorite crispy fried comfort foods with little to no oil.