Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu

Let’s talk tofu.

Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu. 3 steps to cook firm, crispy tofu that tastes deep fried but isn't!

For as innocuous as a food comprised of pressed soybeans might sound, tofu can be surprisingly incendiary. Want to hear a group of middle-aged, mild-mannered computer analysts get riled up? Ask them their feelings on tofu. Care to put a bit of passion into a zenned-out peace child? Bring up tofu.  Interested in watching Ben’s face contort into a perfect expression of disgust? Tofu all the way.

I find that attitudes towards tofu fall into one of two categories:

  • Tofu Attitude Camp A: Love it; give me more of it.
  •  Tofu Attitude Camp B: I wouldn’t feed that to my cat.

I happen to be a hearty, happy member of Tofu Attitude Camp A, and I am convinced that Camp B’ers would embrace the ‘fu too, if only they could take a bite of properly prepared Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu.

Ultra-Crispy-Unfried-Tofu-Recipe-The-Law-Students-Wife

Uncooked (or poorly cooked), tofu has the flavor and the texture of a limp, overused kitchen sponge. When tofu is properly sautéed and seasoned, however, its naturally bland taste and sponge-like texture becomes an asset. Thirsty tofu eagerly absorbs spices, making it an ideal culinary canvas for your favorite flavor combinations.

Tofu’s supple texture presents a larger problem. Even the zippiest of seasonings cannot redeem the formless, squashy blobs that tofu becomes when cooked improperly. As long as I have teeth, I will pass on tofu mush and so should you.

The easiest (and arguably the tastiest) way to resolve the tofu-texture issue is to deep fry it, a common practice in many Asian restaurants. While deep frying does give tofu the crispy exterior and firm texture that we’re after, it also negates tofu’s benefit as a lean, clean source of protein. Further, were I to deep fry anything in Ben and my miniscule apartment, the place would smell like a KFC for the next three weeks.

Ultra-Crispy-Unfried-Tofu-Recipe-The-Law-Students-Wife

Preferring to reserve my deep-fried indulgences for pickles and cheese curds, as well as to keep peace with my neighbors, I set out to devise a tofu-cooking method that would give me tofu pieces that boasted the same crispy, satisfying texture as the deep-fried tofu that I love, minus the deep fry.

I also wanted my “unfried” tofu to be easy to prepare—no tedious standing at the stove or fancy tofu presses for this lady. We’re all busy people, and I have 20 nails to paint, a nasty front closet to reorganize, and a grandmother to call. Let’s save time in the tofu-department, shall we?

After a few bad batches and more than a few Google searches, I nailed it: Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu.

Ultra-Crispy-Unfried-Tofu-Recipe-The-Law-Students-Wife

The three-part secret to Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu: Freeze; simmer; sauté. Freezing the tofu causes the water in it to expand and create extra air pockets that super-charge its surface area, as well as its flavor-absorption power. Slipping the tofu into a pot of boiling water, then simmering it for 10 minutes firms and plumps it. Finally, a light sauté over high heat gives it a crispy brown exterior.

As an additional health bonus, very little oil is needed for the sauté, since the tofu pieces are already nice and firm, thanks to Freezing Step 1 and Simmering Step 2. The simmer step is the most critical. If you are truly pressed for time, you can skip the freeze and the sauté, and simply simmer the tofu. Though the texture won’t be quite as crispy as if you had sautéed it, and it won’t absorb flavor quite as well as if you had frozen it, your resulting tofu will still be pleasantly firm and satisfying.

Moment of brutal honesty: I have no idea why the simmer-method works. (To any food scientists in the audience: I’m all-in for a tofu chemistry lesson.)

Ultra-Crispy-Unfried-Tofu-Recipe-The-Law-Students-Wife

One additional step that improves texture and two things you can skip: Cutting the tofu into strips prior to freezing moderately improved the texture, so do it if you have time; no need to spend more than 2 seconds pressing the tofu dry and no need to thaw it prior to simmering, so don’t bother. A score for time-savings! Let’s pour ourselves a glass of wine.

With Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu, we have tofu texture nailed, but we still need to talk taste. Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu is hankering to meet your next stir fry. I absolutely love it in my Three Pea Ginger Tofu Stir Fry, and I have a feeling you will too.

Finally a word to Tofu Attitude Camp B: I beg you, give tofu another chance with Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu. We’re having a rockin’ time over here in Camp A, and you definitely want to be part of the shenanigans. I’m trying to be intriguing here. Come visit us and try a bite. After all, everything tastes better (un)fried.

Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu

How to cook crispy, firm tofu pieces that taste deep fried, minus the deep fryer! A healthy tofu cooking method in 3 easy steps.

Yield: 15 ounces of crispy tofu (enough for a stir fry that serves 6 or a dipping appetizer that serves 4)

Total Time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-ounce block extra firm tofu (do not use firm or silken)
  • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil

Directions:

  1. Unwrap tofu. Lightly blot with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Slice block into 1-inch thick strips. Reassemble block, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze for 3 hours our up to 2 months.
  2. When ready to cook, remove tofu from freezer and unwrap. Bring a pot of water large enough to completely submerge the tofu to a boil. Gently slip frozen tofu block into the water (no need to break apart the strips.) Reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Continue simmering for 10-15 minutes, until tofu floats. Remove immediately and set aside on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Once tofu is cool enough to touch, carefully separate any strips that have not yet come apart. Cut strips into 1/2 to 3/4 inch-wide pieces.
  3. In a large wok or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add tofu pieces in a single layer. Let cook for a few minutes on one side, then with a heat-proof spatula, turn the tofu pieces so that all sides brown, cooking for a few minutes on each side. Once tofu is lightly browned and crispy (about 10 minutes), remove from pan. Use in your favorite stir fry, dip in peanut sauce, or add to soups or stews.

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

148 comments

  1. Your little tofu cubes look perfect! Mine never look that pretty, so consider myself officially impressed.

  2. YES! Freezing is the secret to great fried tofu! I learned this from Hannah Kaminsky (My Sweet Vegan author), and it changed my life. It makes it so much more meaty! I pop it in the freezer right when I get it home from the grocery store. Love this post!

    • It’s it amazing what a difference that simple trick makes??? Maybe I’ll just start just leaving mine in the package now without unwrapping it; even more time savings. I gotta ask: Can you get the Mr. to eat tofu? Ben refuses, and at this point, I feel like he’s just spiting me!

  3. Whoa! I have never tried tofu, but you make me think I should!! Looks awesome!

    • You absolutely should! Honestly, it can be really “meaty” and takes on any flavor you want. Worth giving it a shot :-)

      • Nice technique. I’ve only ever used tofu in recipes where it’s blended in (cookies, tomato basil bisque, etc). Tried it tonight, and I subbed bacon grease for the oil…nice texture, nice taste! Thanks.

        • I am so happy to hear that you liked this method and that it worked well for you!! Your twist with the bacon might make even Ben a tofu fan :-) Thanks so much for trying it and for sharing your review. It really means a lot!

  4. This. Is. Awesome. I love tofu but only if it’s deep-fried (but hey-o! my thighs don’t love that ;)), so this is a perfect solution!

  5. I’ll be honest, I’ve never made tofu in my life, but I am SO intrigued by how easy you made this look, Erin!

    • Georgia, it is even easier than I wrote! My fam NEVER cooked tofu growing up, but after having it in a few authentic restaurants, I was hooked. Need a tasty, easy, budget-friendly source of protein? Tofu’s got your back ;-) If you do try it, please let me know what you think!

  6. This sounds delicious, great recipe! I haven’t cooked with Tofu to much, but definitely wouldn’t mind using it more!

  7. this is such a helpful post because I am always looking for ways to make tofu crispy minus the frying. Thank you so much. I will be trying this ASAP because I am also part of camp A

  8. I LOVE this post! My tofu is always mushy and gross, and when I press the water out, it seems to turn out lopsided. I’m gonna give this recipe a go tonight for the stir fry I am going to make.

  9. I have to try your recipe, tofu has always been a challenge for me.
    Little by little I am starting to dislike tofu because of my cooking mishaps with it. I also will be switching to the extra firm, maybe that’s where I screw up, buying the wrong tofu plus cooking it wrong. LOL!! I’m such a genius…..NOT!!
    Thanks for the tips!
    Have a great day! :-)

    • Dalila, tofu can either be awesome or mush, and combining the right kind of tofu (extra firm) with the right cooking technique makes all the difference. I really hope you give it another shot. Let me know what you think!

  10. yes, LET’S talk tofu because i adore tofu and people who don’t try it and knock it really irk me. this is actually the way my mom makes all her tofu dishes. i absolutely ADORE it because it gives it such a great, light, crunchy texture on the outside. It makes me so happy to see you post this because I love a person who can adore tofu :)

    • Julie, the fact that your mom makes her dishes this way makes me feel even better about it! (What can I say, a cook loves company). And anyone who doesn’t love tofu, I feel is just being stubborn. The ‘fu deserves a chance!

  11. I’m definitely in Camp A – I LOVE tofu! I’ve never tried freezing then simmering it, I’ll give it a shot next time!

  12. I’m tofu category type A. And I need this NOW! I love tofu but hardly ever make it. Gotta change that!

  13. i am all for tofu just have never made before…love the no deep fry i’ve tried on other things and made my own house smell for 3 weeks it was awful..I will stick with baking/grilling/sauteing

    • THREE WEEKS? OK, I definitely need to stay away!
      I do hope you give tofu a try: it really can be a great way to add protein to any dish and will take any flavor you care to throw at it! Plus, you can get the hubby to be adventurous and try it with you ;-)

  14. I am not a huge tofu fan but I like all things crispy so now I am willing to give tofu another try and make these little squares, thanks!

  15. So… I have to confess I hate tofu. But maybe fried will change me into a believer?

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  17. I love tofu, this is a great recipe and I love the color you were able to get. I’ve also tried making a tofu salad which can be used as a main dish. Give it a try! http://www.yingandyangliving.com/food/tofu-salad-bean-sprout-romaine-lettuce/

  18. I am a card carrying member of the tofu lover’s club and have been for years. But I have never been able to figure out how to get it as crispy as restaurants do (without buying a deep fryer, that is). I’ll be using this method from now on.

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  20. I thought this worked really well. Not sure why, but I think the simmering and sautéing took longer for me. It all worked out though, a good method for home cooked tofu.

  21. Question: If I freeze the block of tofu without cutting it first, do i simmer the entire block without cutting it? Or do I have to thaw the block then cut it, then simmer? Also, do you have to put the tofu in the water when it is still frozen or does it not matter?

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  23. Hi Erin, I feel so hungry now. I can’t wait to try your method of making crispy tofu, they look so good. I have a question though, you said it is crispy and unfried, but the recipe says it has to be cooked with olive oil in a wok or skillet. Isn’t that frying? I am probably missing something here. Can you explain please? Thank you so much for posting this.

    • Nina, that is a fantastic, honest question, and I think it depends on how you define “fried.” I consider it a very light saute just to brown the edges. I wouldn’t consider veggies that I saute fried, so therefore I don’t consider the tofu fried either. Very little oil is used and the tofu isn’t submerged in it at all. If you can certainly skip this step and the tofu will still be nice and firm–it just won’t be quite as crisp on the outside. Does that help to explain my thinking?

  24. Hi Erin, thank you so much for your prompt reply. That helps a lot. Guess what we are having for dinner? The Law Student’s Wife Ultracrispy Unfried
    Tofu. Thanks again and looking forward to more of your wonderful recipes.

  25. Hi Erin! My husband and I loved your recipe. Finally, I got him to like tofu. Thank you so much again for sharing your secret. Take care!

  26. I am making this un-deep fried tofu for the kids and i tonight. My 6 year old daughter calls it chicken (who am i to correct a bright young tofu lover) i need a good tofu burger recipe!

    • Julie, I love that your daughter calls tofu chicken! Wish I could say the same for my husband, lol. I hope you guys love it! I don’t have a tofu burger recipe to recommend (I’ve never tried making one) but I love that idea. Filing the idea away for a future post :-)

  27. One problem with your “unfried” tofu is the obvious:
    It’s fried.

    • Hi Kyle! If you consider light sautéing in oil ‘fried’ then this tofu would not be for you–however, since only 1 tablespoon of oil is used in the entire recipe (vs. an entire pot of deep fry oil) I’d still consider it ‘unfried.’ If you are concerned, feel free to skip this step. It’s completely up to you.

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  30. I hate the taste of second day chicken and have been scouring about for a way to make tofu palatable for my salads. I favor Asian flavored dressings (Miso Ginger, Sesame, Peanut) and I knew that if I got the hang of making it taste better that tofu would be a cheap, convenient protein source to my lunch salads. Thank you for publishing this post! Your method cured the raw tofu texture I despise and made my salad taste incredible. I was almost about to skip the boiling step since I read quickly the first time around but I totally saw them plump up again like you said.

    • I’m so excited that you tried this recipe and found the texture you were looking for! I actually just made some for my salad this week (with a honey, garlic, sesame dressing in fact. Great minds :-) ) Thanks so much for taking time to comment and share your thoughts. Makes my day!

  31. Great recipe- thanks so much! I have always wondered how to get that great firm, chewy texture that I have had in restaurants. Used this technique to make some kung pao tofu over the weekend. Yesterday I improvised– instead of pan frying the cubes I sprayed a glass baking dish and baked the tofu cubes at 450 F for about 15 minutes– just tossed them every 5 minutes. Came out great also! Thanks for the freeze and simmer trick :-)

    • Hi Geetha! Thanks so much for trying this recipe and for sharing your thoughts. I love your oven trick too. I am definitely going to try it that way for the next batch of tofu I make. Great idea!

  32. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of freezing tofu. I eat tofu all the time. This is brilliant!!!

  33. Just saw this on pinterest.. I will be trying this soon! I actually just bought firm tofu from Costco.. Why won’t firm tofu work?

    • Hi Stephanie! You can definitely use this method for firm tofu–it just won’t be quite as “meaty” since it’s a little softer than extra firm. The one type of tofu you wouldn’t want to use is silken, which tends to fall apart.

  34. You’re BRILLIANT, Erin! I’m always on a search to make tofu as they do in restaurants, but I’ve never tried freezing my tofu. Your explanation of why freezing it works is super interesting–I’m going to have to get my food science cousin to explain to me the exact science behind it all. Can’t wait to try this!

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  38. It worked even more gloriously than I could have hoped for!! THANK YOU for sharing.

    I have been failing for quite a while to replicate the tofu served at my favorite Thai/Vietnamese restaurants. Not growing up with tofu…it’s been a lovely but very recent adventure for me. Never in a million years would I have thought to try the boiling step (nor was it shown in the multiple tutorials I perused on my hunt to learn good tofu cooking technique). How is that not more common knowledge?! It makes ALL the difference in the world ;)

    You rock.

    • Oh this makes me so, so happy to hear! I’m so glad that this method worked for you. Have a wonderful night and thanks for letting me know. Makes my day :)

  39. In other words, it’s unfried, except for the part where you just fried it in olive oil?

    • Hi, since the tofu is lightly sautéed in just a few tablespoons of olive oil (vs. being completely submerged in a deep fryer filled with oil), I do still consider it “unfried.” If you prefer, you can simply boil and slice the tofu, and skip the step where it sautéed. Whatever works best for you!

  40. Hi, I’m a newbie to cooking tofu but love it in restaurants. When do you marinate it? Before you freeze it? After you simmer it but before you sauté it, or after you sauté it?

    • Hi Jem! If you love restaurant tofu, I think you’ll really enjoy this! You don’t actually marinate the tofu. Freeze it right when you buy it, then boil it in the water on the stove, per the directions. From there, you cube then saute it. I hope that helps–let me know if there is something in the recipe directions that isn’t clear or where you’d like more info.

  41. How long will this last? (i.e.: leftovers)
    and can it be (re)frozen to later thaw/use in other dishes?

    • Hi Amy! It will last in the fridge 4-5 days, though it will soften a bit. You can absolutely freeze it. I’ve made many stirfries with this tofu and then frozen the entire stirfry and had great results reheating it, and I’m sure it would work fine to freeze the tofu separately too.

      • Thanks! I have never cooked tofu, never bought tofu, hardly ever eaten it… but this looks interesting. I’m going to try it :)

  42. my husband LOVES tofu but sadly, i’m the token terrible asian who hates it. i really tempted to try this tomorrow!

    • Marly, depending upon what about tofu you don’t like, this could do the trick! If you think tofu is too mushy, this method will make it nice and firm and (dare I say) meaty. Be sure to add lots of your favorite flavors in the final dish you serve it with (I love it in stir fry with a spicy ginger or peanut sauce), and you might be surprised!!

  43. Thank you!! Love tofu

  44. I hadn’t tried the freezing method but have been using another recipe I found online for getting crispier tofu which is to cut it into the cube shapes you want and putting it into a pot of salted water, bringing it to a boil and then turning it off and letting it sit 15 mins. I then drain it in the salad spinner and saute with a wee bit of oil and it comes out great so you might want to try that just to skip the freezing step. And since I want to try the freezing method to see if it is worth adding the step, are you freezing the block whole and then defrosting before cubing or cubing and then freezing? Thanks. Also, I don’t know where you are geographically but if you are near or are going to be in the Philly area, try the restaurant Vedge (make reservations well in advance) and order the tofu. If your husband doesn’t want to try it, that’s OK, he’ll just be missing out on one of the tastiest things he could eat and there will be that much more for you!

    • Hi Cliff! Your method sounds really interesting! I’ll have to give it a try next time. When I’m feeling lazy, I freeze the block whole, and then just pop the whole thing into the water while still frozen. You can cut it up first and then freeze it, but I found that over all, it makes a really minimal difference, so I usually skip it. I’ve never been to Philly, but if that changes, I will definitely try that restaurant. Thanks so much for passing all of this information along!

      • Typical of me, I jumped ahead and think I may have missed a step. You say that freeze the block whole — so I brought the package home and tossed it in the freezer. I didn’t remove the tofu and squeeze rewrap it like you say in Step 1. Now I have a frozen block of tofu in its water. Should I thaw it and then drop if in the boiling water, or should I put the whole thing (frozen tofu & ice) in the boiling water? does it matter that I didn’t drain it first?

        • Hi Jem! Not to worry. I sometimes take a short cut and actually freeze the block whole too. Simply put the whole frozen block in the boiling water (minus the wrapper of course). It will take a bit longer to cook since it’s starting out frozen, but it will turn out just fine.

  45. Your welcome. Like curry? Here’s a really easy way to use those cubes for a side or main course. Once they are nicely crisped in the saute pan, sprinkle a generous amount of curry powder on, serve over blended peas (any organic frozen baby peas is what I use) thaw them and place in blender with just enough water to get them to blend, a little salt and white pepper, heat that up and top the tofu and peas with panko bread crumbs you have lightly browned in a wee bit of butter. Has been a hit with a wide variety of eaters.

  46. I am trying this right now! Just curious…do you simmer with lid on or off? Thanks, so excited to try!

  47. Quick question! I will be trying this recipe tonight, and was wondering, once the tofu is sautéed, can I keep it in the fridge so that I can use any leftovers later in the week for a stir fry? I cook for just myself, so 1 block is too much for one meal. It seems like doing this preparation ahead would also save lots of time on a busy weeknight, but I’m unsure if it being in the fridge after being prepared would preserve the texture. Any advice?

    • Hi Alice! That is 100% fine. In fact, I often reheat leftover tofu stir fry for myself later in the week, with great results. Keeping the tofu separate from the stirfry until you use it shouldn’t change a thing. Thanks so much for trying the recipe. I hope you love it!

  48. You have changed my life! I have had crispy tofu, deep fried in an Asian restaurant and baked firm from a health food store. I wanted to love tofu, but was unsuccessful in all my attempts to make it crispy without frying. I will now freeze several blocks to have ready for all my favorite stir fries and sautés. A million thanks!

    • Ruth, I am so SO excited to hear that this method works so well for you! You are putting me in the mood for tofu too :) Thank you so much for taking time to share your thoughts. Comments like these never fail to make my day. It means a lot!

  49. I’m one of those people who fall into camp A, but never really know what to do with tofu. Whipped up a batch of these this evening & found them dangerously more-ish. Definitely going to make these again in the very near future :) Thank you.

    • Hi Kate! I am so excited to hear that you loved this recipe! It’s my favorite way to enjoy tofu. Thank you so much for trying it and for letting me know what you thought. It makes my night

  50. I was wondering if’ you’ve ever tried microwaving (instead of boiling?) I used to do that to pull out the water content on the tofu before frying.

    • That sounds interesting. How do you microwave tofu to get the results you want? Do you start with a block of frozen tofu?

      • There’s something very informative written on herbivoracious.com , called “How to make tofu really freaking delicious – tofu 101”. One of the people who commented on that mentioned microwaving for a minute or two and then blotting with a dish towel to remove any moisture that ends up on the surface.

        • Hi Robin, I’ve never tried microwaving, but it’s an interesting idea! I know many people press tofu to help remove moisture and make it firmer, and this sounds like a very effective way to do that. Personally, I love the simplicity of tossing the tofu right into the boiling water, but whatever method works to get the tofu just way the you like sounds like the right one :)

    • Hi Robin! I have never tried microwaving the tofu. The boiling doesn’t just get the water content out—it really plumps and firms the tofu. I don’t know that the microwave would have the same result, although it does sound like an interesting approach.

  51. Hi Erin!

    I am new to the tofu world – I just tried it for the first time two days ago! I followed another recipe (listed above, poured boiling salt water over it) before frying in skillet and it was nice and crispy! Have you tried to skip the freezing method and just boil it first, before simmering? If so, how does it compare? I am curious if it will be even crispier if I freeze it as you suggest. Thank you and have a great week!

    • Hi Jenn! While boiling alone makes for great tofu (and definitely works if you don’t want to plan ahead), I really do think that freezing it is even better. It’s worth a shot if you don’t mind waiting for the tofu to freeze, and you can transfer it right from its frozen state into the boiling water. I hope you love it, and you have a great week too!

  52. This is really fantastic information. Thank you so much for sharing! I have never really worked with tofu other than crumbled in scrambles because I could never figure out how the heck to make it palatable, specifically the texture issue. I really want to benefit from tofu’s versatility and health benefits and this will certainly help with that. Thank you again :)

  53. Loving this idea! I was just wondering though, would simmering the tofu in vegetable stock instead of water make a difference either in taste or texture?

    • Hi Lane, that is a really interesting idea! I’ve never tried it. I think that it would have the same positive effect on the texture as the water (making the tofu “meatier”), and I would imagine that some of the stock flavor would be absorbed as well. It will make the tofu saltier, so just be sure to compensate for that accordingly in the final dish. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  54. I always cube and freeze the tofu (you can also find pre-cubed sometimes) and then use a little at a time in all kinds of things like spaghetti sauce, rice pilaf, etc. in place of animal based protein. The advantage to cubing is that you can pull out a bit at a time since I can’t go through an entire block at once, but I haven’t tried the boiling step in between. Must give that a go.

    BTW, my 3-yr old loves tofu and will often pick it out of the final dish and eat it first!

  55. Hi! I followed your directions to the letter and the tofu certainly browned nicely in the pan although I can’t say it was “crispy”. But it was chewy, certainly not mushy. But it had no flavor! What do I do to give it some flavor. I dipped it in a Hot & Spicy Thai sauce. The sauce was delicious but the tofu was still just chewy and flavorless. I guess I expected something more. Any advice?

    • Hi Jem! This is meant to be a method for cooking tofu that can be applied to any stir fry recipe. As you noticed, tofu on its own doesn’t have a lot of flavor. This recipe gives the tofu a nice texture, then you can adapt it to fit into any recipe you’d like to make. For example, I sometimes make this recipe with tofu instead of chicken (http://www.thelawstudentswife.com/2013/09/chicken-stir-fry-with-thai-peanut-sauce/). When I mix the tofu into the flavorful peanut sauce, it tastes wonderful. You can also add things like onion, garlic, and ginger into the pan with the tofu when you saute it, which helps add more flavor. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding, but I hope that you were happy with your dinner in the end!

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  58. I LOVE this recipe. Since I came across it several months ago, it is my exclusive method for preparing tofu. My husband, who’s not the biggest tofu fan, is nuts about it too. When I do the simmer stage, I like to boil it in seasoned water (veggie broth or throw in miso paste and soy sauce) so the flavor gets all up in that tofu. Super yum.

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  60. I don’t saute mine. I spray a 9″ X 13″ pan with cooking spray and bake it @ 400 degrees till it’s golden on one side, then turn it if necessary. A cookie sheet doesn’t work because it pops like popcorn all over the oven if you don’t have a pan with sides, which is also why it isn’t always necessary to turn it.

  61. Might be just the thing to get the Mrs. to try tofu! It’s always way too squishy for her palate, I think.

  62. You are AMAZING omg! I just made this and its insane… I think I am going to devour the whole freaking tofu block lol! Thank you so much for this recipe, I have been eating tofu for years and was one of those people that could not for the life of me get the texture right and resorted to either eating it raw or just getting takeout… i’m obsessed, its delish! 

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  65. cookingformister Reply

    This is great! I have been cooking tofu for half a year for diet reasons and I have never known such method exists! Grilling tofu is what I usually do instead of deep frying and just now I tried boiling and wow I love the texture, crispy outside and soft in the inside. Thank you for sharing this, Erin! Love love love from the Philippines :)

  66. this was…AMAZING. i usually take the lazy route and barely press water out before i (try) to saute it. it always ends in a mushy mess. but i had recently frozen a block of tofu when i didnt get around to eating it, so i gave this a whirl. it was so so good in my thai red coconut curry. it’s such a great protein source – healthy, cheap, low carb for my husband. awesome! thank you!

  67. Just wondering what would happen if I used firm tofu instead of extra firm? I have some in my fridge but noticed that the recipe says to not use firm. Would it just crumble?

  68. This was so easy and SO good – we loved it!  Thanks so much for yet another fabulous recipe.  

  69. I almost never ever leave comments on recipes online, but this was amazing – hands down the best tofu I’ve ever prepared. Thank you for sharing this technique!

  70. Wow!!! I am so impressed!! I just did these with cubes and they were out of this world! I really didn’t think they would be this amazing. I did press a ton of the moisture out before freezing which I wouldn’t do again next time as it seems a little dry on the inside. No cornstarch either and yet just so crispy!! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe!! I am an official tofu boiler! :)

  71. I never thought I’d have to fight my kids for the last bites of tofu!  So weird that that sentence just came out of my mouth 😃  Do you not season it?  I was wondering about salting the boiling water or while they were cooking in the skillet because they were bland. 

    • Marci, I love that your kids gobbled this up! This recipe is meant to be more of a cooking method that you would incorporate into another recipe, which is why it is unseasoned. You can finish the tofu with any stir fry sauce or flavors you enjoy. This honey line tofu stir fry is a great example: http://www.wellplated.com/honey-lime-tofu-stir-fry/.

      • Oh gotcha!  One more question, are you supposed to try and get the water out of it after the boil?  I’m not super familiar with tofu but I thought that’s why people bought tofu presses. 

        • Marci, pressing tofu is what is usually done in place of freezing/boiling it, though I don’t find it as effective. You’ll want to pat the tofu dry after it’s boiled, but no need to press it.

  72. I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for a long time, and it turned out so wonderful. I put it into a tortilla with pico de gallo, peppers, some Sriracha and vegan mayo. It made for a great vegan taco!

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