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How to make tofu puffs?

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How do you make those tofu puffs? Whenever I try to do this, it doesn't turn out right. The outside will be crispy or crunchy and the inside will be soft, but I can never achieve that light airy consistency. Is there a certain process to this or is it simply a matter of deep frying? Is there a specific type of tofu I must use?

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  1. I've never heard of anyone making this at home. Not saying it can't be done but it's usually something you buy.

    1. same here. i've experimented but never succeeded. so far, the only conclusion i've come to is that it doesn't start with a solid chunk of tofu which only gets denser as you cook it. to get it to puff like that, i'm thinking it's got to start with something that's more of a batter consistency and deep fried. alternately, since some of them are so uniformly cube-shaped, it makes me wonder if they're baked to rise and then deep fried. not sure how to approach either without flour. odd it never occurred to me to just ask someone.

      1. im pretty certain that it is SILKEN tofu that you need to use. (be careful) When you freeze it - take it out of the container, get rid of excess water, wrap in gladwrap and freeze - it denatures the bonds or something and creates air pockets/rips. Once defrosted (be careful as it is SUPER delicate at this stage) the tofu looks totally different, and if you cube it and deep fry it, it will be spongey and light. UNLIKE deepfrying firm tofu which has been drained. which is somewhat spongey, but still thick.

        However, the main problem with doing this is that (i believe) it is very expensive. With a 250gm block of silken tofu, frozen for 12 hours, defrosted for 12 hours, only makes about 6 normal sized tofu puffs. All the time and effort, i think, is a bit much. Unless u have stacks of silken tofu lying around, or are a cooking scientist and must know how to make food (like me).

        2 Replies
        1. re: kablah88

          This is basically spot on.

          Start with silken tofu. Cut the silken tofu into cubes. Freeze them, then defrost them. The texture will change and become spongy.

          Rest them on a cloth or towel to drain the water.

          Then deep fry until golden brown -- about 3-5 minutes.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            I tried this method and it does not result in the puffed tofu you see in restaurants. The texture is really chewy and tough and the holes formed from the ice crystals makes the tofu feel unpleasant. I suspect the puffed must be formed from air/water rapidly expanding inside the tofu. Higher temperatures with silken tofu (with its higher moisture content) may result in the puffed nature, or simply frying the tofu for longer may result in puffed tofu with the action of the water trying to escape