Puffed Tofu


Nik Sharma

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Puffed Tofu

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Puffed tofu or bean curd puffs are a wonderful treat due to their golden brown crispy coats and pillow-soft interiors. They can be served as an appetizer and added to soups like curry laksa, noodles, and rice dishes. 

  • Yield: 14 oz/400 g


14 oz/400 g medium or firm tofu, preferably fresh/regular

3 1/2 to 4 cups/835 to 945 ml neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as grapeseed for frying


1. Drain the tofu. Cut the tofu into 1/2 in/13 mm cubes. Place the tofu on dry paper towels and leave for 30 minutes. This will help remove the water trapped inside the tofu. 

2. Heat the oil to 350F/180C in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan or Dutch oven.

3. Line a plate or tray with absorbent paper towels. 

4. Fry the tofu in batches, 6 to 8, until they turn golden brown and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. When sliced through, the tofu should have a spongy and puffy interior. Transfer to the plate. Use as needed. The cooked tofu can be prepared in advance and stored for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 


  • Fresh/regular tofu (medium or firm type) is the best option for making puffy tofu. In America, I use Meji, but if you can’t find fresh tofu, do not use soft or silken tofu to prepare this recipe. Soft tofu is too weak for this application and will fall apart during cooking, and silken tofu will not puff up. Extra firm tofu will produce a very hard texture that isn’t as nice. 
  • These can be made larger; cut the tofu into 1 in/2.5 cm cubes. 
  • There is no need to season them before frying. The tofu will act like a sponge and absorb the flavors from the sauce, soup, etc., it is served with. 

5 Responses

  1. I like to add a few drops of sesame oil to the cooking oil and sometimes some furitake flakes – really good flavor in the puffs!

  2. When I make this tofu dish, I add honey and chipotle powder (from Penzey’s) to them, once they are puffed.
    Stir fried with (all colors of) bell peppers, garlic and red onion, = SO good!

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