The Clever Trick You Should Use To Get Crispy Tofu

Like so many dishes, perfectly crispy tofu can seem to some like the final result of an elusive cooking secret known only to a select few. But as is almost always the case, anyone can learn to nail down a technique with enough practice. In the specific case of tofu, eggplant, and other foods that contain a lot of water but are delicious when fried, the internet has a host of potential answers to a perfect, audibly crispy-crunchy bite.

In a video featuring chef and recipe developer Lucas Sin posted by The New York Times, Sin suggests freezing firm tofu to remove the bulk of its moisture, then giving it an extra squeeze before slicing and salting it and letting it rest for about 15 minutes prior to pan-frying. But Sin's method isn't the only tried-and-true one out there. If you're looking to expand your list of ways to get the crispiest tofu imaginable, the internet has another hack that actually involves submerging tofu in liquid before cooking it. 

Soak your tofu in a hot salt brine

In her cookbook "Every Grain of Rice: Simple Chinese Home Cooking," Sichuan cuisine enthusiast Fuchsia Dunlop maintains that the only thing standing between you and the crispiest bite of tofu ever is a pot of salted water (via Food52). "Blanch plain white tofu in hot salted water before use, to freshen up its flavor and warm it before you combine it with other ingredients," she writes. She also warns cooks to avoid letting the water come to a boil, lest their tofu becomes "porous and less tender."

How does adding more water to tofu get it even crispier? An article in Cook's Illustrated explains that "both the heat and the salinity of the water" act as moisture-pulling agents, also noting that the temperature of the water "also gradually tightens the proteins at the surface of the tofu," which keeps the center of the tofu soft while the outside gets brown and crispy.