Remove the tofu from the package and drain. With your hands, gently squeeze out as much water as possible without breaking or crushing the block. Lay the tofu flat on a cutting board, so the longer edge is towards you, then cut it into four strips. Rotate the strips so that the wider (cut sides) are flat against the cutting board, and cut them in half again, so you have 8 strips total. Cut the strips crosswise into 1-inch cubes (I end up with 5 cubes per strip).
Line a cutting board or large plate with a clean tea towel (or similar lint-free kitchen towel) or paper towels. Spread the tofu cubes onto it in one layer and lay a second towel on top. Press gently but firmly and change out the towel as needed. The idea is to remove as much water from the tofu as possible.
In a small bowl or large liquid measuring cup, stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, syrup, oil, garlic powder, ginger, and hot sauce.
Place the tofu in a shallow baking dish or medium mixing bowl. Pour the soy sauce mixture over the tofu, then with your hand, toss gently to combine. Let the tofu sit for 15 minutes, tossing it again halfway through. Don’t worry if a few bits crumble. Those will turn deliciously crispy.
If you’d like to keep the tofu warm between batches, preheat your oven to 250 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F according to the manufacturer’s instructions (for my air fryer, that is 3 minutes of preheat time).
Just before cooking, sprinkle the corn starch evenly over the top of the tofu and toss to coat.
Coat the basket of the air fryer with nonstick spray. Add the tofu in one layer, leaving a little space around the cubes so they do not touch and the air can circulate. (Depending upon the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook it in two or three batches.)
Cook the tofu for 9 minutes. Then slide the basket out, and shake it gently to toss the tofu. Continue to cook for 2 to 4 additional minutes, tossing and checking it each minute, until the tofu is crisp and dark golden. (The time will vary based on your air fryer; keep a close eye on it towards the end to ensure it doesn’t burn.) If desired, transfer the tofu to the baking sheet and keep it warm in the oven while you finish the rest.
Repeat with remaining tofu, discarding any excess marinade (if you have some crumbled bits of tofu in the bottom of the bowl, you can air fry those too). Enjoy!
TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: Use tamari, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos in place of the soy sauce.
TO STORE: Refrigerate tofu in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
TO REHEAT: Recrisp tofu in the air fryer at 375 degrees F. It will only take a few minutes, so check often to prevent burning.
TO FREEZE: The texture of the tofu may change once frozen and thawed, but the flavor will remain delicious. Place tofu cubes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid. Freeze the frozen tofu in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.