When I first created this recipe, I feared that it would come off as a sad excuse for an alternative to glorious crave-worthy Buffalo chicken wings. But these punchy little morsels are just so. damn. good. And hey, for what it’s worth, this is coming from a chicken wing snob who grew up right outside of Buffalo, NY. I know wings.
And even I still, I gobbled up this entire block of tofu by myself. (I regret nothing.)
But I felt the need to revisit this post for two reasons:
- to showcase better photos
- to bring you a crisped up tofu hack.
After perusing people’s reviews of this recipe on Pinterest, I noticed a divide; people either loved it or were disappointed by it. The latter noted that the tofu cubes were gluey, clumpy, etc. This would be due to not shaking excess starch from the cubes before putting them into the pan or—what a few folks did—poured all of the starch into the pan along with the cubes of tofu.
So I’m here with a hack that I’ve learned after doing some homework…
Freeze your tofu.
Ridiculous, I know. BUT EFFECTIVE.
Freezing an extra firm block of tofu removes excess moisture and gives it a meatier, chewier texture. It also makes it better for marinating and it does wonders for pan-frying it to a golden crisp. All you have to do is drain your tofu by slicing a small slit into the package, drain it, and pop it into your freezer at least three hours before use.
Then boil it.
Once you’re ready to prepare your tofu, bring some water (you can cut the water in half with vegetable broth for some extra flavor), and simmer the tofu for about 15 minutes. (Note: frozen tofu is yellow, so don’t be alarmed when you take it out of the freezer and it looks like a big brick of old parmesan cheese; as it boils, it will fade back to it’s natural white shade.)
After boiling the tofu, let it cool, lightly pat/squeeze it with paper towels, and cut the cube into 1/2-inch slices. You could marinate if after this, but a) I’m impatient and b) I don’t feel the need to do so with this particular recipe. I’ve kept the old method with the marinade in the recipe instructions, however.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add a splash of olive oil or avocado oil, and once the oil is hot, plop in those tofu cubes. You’ll cook them for about five minutes; check on the browning occasionally. Once golden brown, flip the cubes over and cook until golden brown on each side. This should take about 10-15 minutes.
If you like experimenting with tofu, try this Easy Thai Red Curry With Tofu or these Grilled Chipotle and Lime Tofu Fajitas.
If you try this recipe or create your own variation, let me know in the comments! I love connecting with you. Also, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme.
Crispy Buffalo Tofu Bites With Garlicky Yogurt + Feta Dip
Crispy Buffalo Tofu.
- 12-16 oz extra firm tofu, drained and frozen
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (optional)
- 1/4-1/2 cup Frank's Hot Sauce or any Buffalo-style sauce
- Chopped fresh chives, parsley, or cilantro; for garnish (optional)
Garlicky Yogurt + Feta Dip.
- 4 TBSP Plain Greek yogurt (use a non-dairy yogurt for vegan variation)
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder (or salt)
- 1 TBSP crumbled feta (omit for vegan option)
- 1 TBSP nutritional yeast (optional if non-vegan)
Crispy Buffalo Tofu.
- Freeze your tofu the night before, or a least three hours before you plan on preparing this dish.
- Bring water to a boil in a pot or wide and deep saucepan; basically choose a vessel that will properly fit your brick of tofu and just enough water to cover your tofu.
- Once the water is boiling, carefully submerge your tofu into it and let it boil for about 15 minutes. The tofu will be a questionable yellow hue when it's frozen; this is normal! It will go back to its healthy white hue as it simmers.
- After 15 minutes, remove the tofu and place it on a paper towel-lined plate or cutting board. With paper towels, gently press on it to squeeze out any excess water.
- Cut the tofu brick into 1/2-inch cubes. At this point, you can either marinate your tofu (see recipe notes for the old recipe with the marinade), or move onto frying them. With this particular recipe, I don't find it necessary to marinade the tofu (especially if you added veg broth to your water when boiling), but it's totally up to you.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu cubes and let them simmer for about 5 minutes, or until golden brown and lightly crisped. Flip the tofu cubes and continue to do this on each side until the cubes are all golden brown and lightly crisp. This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on your skillet and the heat being emitted.
- When done, transfer the tofu cubes to a bowl. Drizzle them with hot sauce, toss to coat and plate. Drizzle a little extra hot sauce on top if you want. (I always do!)
- Garnish with fresh herbs if you'd like, and serve with the dip.
Garlicky Yogurt + Feta Dip.
- Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well blended.
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 TBSPS Frank's Buffalo Wing Hot Sauce + 1/2 cup set aside for later
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 TBSP corn starch
1-2 TBSP coconut oil
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish optional Garlicky Yogurt + Feta Dip:
4 TBSP plain + unsweetened yogurt I used vegan yogurt made with almond milk
1/8 tsp garlic salt add more if you feel like you want more of a garlic punch
2 TBSP crumbled feta Instructions Preparing the tofu + marinade:
Drain and remove the tofu from it's packaging, and press (see notes). This will be 30 minutes of idle time.
Once the tofu is good to go, cut into cubes and place into a freezer bag along with veg broth, 2 TBSP Frank's, garlic, salt + pepper.
Let marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. The longer, the better.
Once the tofu has marinated, remove from freezer bag and transfer to a bowl; discard the extra marinade from the bag.
Sprinkle the corn starch over the tofu and toss to coat. Use more if needed.
Heat coconut oil in a skillet over moderate heat.
Place the tofu cubes into the skillet and fry until they are golden brown and crispy on each side — approx. 2 minutes per side.
Transfer the tofu to a bowl and drizzle the 1/2 cup of hot sauce over it. Toss to evenly coat. Garlicky Yogurt + Feta Dip:
Mix all of the ingredients into a small bowl. Taste + adjust seasoning to your preference.
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if you wish.
Serve with Crispy Buffalo Tofu Bites. Recipe Notes
Tofu acts as a sponge and, since it's been sitting in water, it's full of water. You need to press out the water in order to let other liquids in — like your marinade. If you skip this step, you'll end up with a flavorless tofu. Pressing tofu is easy peasy, you just need to sort of plan a head — but just a bit! !Pressing the tofu: Slice the package of tofu open and drain out all of the water. Cut the block of tofu, length-wise, into 1/2 inch thick slices. You should get 6-7 of them. Place a dish towel on a flat surface, such as a cutting board, cookie sheet or tray. Set down a few paper towels on top of the towel. Place the tofu slices on top of the towels and add more paper towels on top. Set some heavy objects on top of the tofu. The best way to go about this is to set another cookie sheet on top, and then set heavy things on top of the cookie sheet — such as a heavy pot or canned goods. Let it be for at least 30 minutes or up to a few hours.