My good friend (and regular Lifehacker contributor) A.A. Newton changed my entire relationship to tofu when she introduced me to pre-fried tofu puffs. If you’ve never had them, they are worth a dedicated trip to your local Asian market. (Grab some miso while you’re at it.)
The puffy tofu morsels are essentially lightly greasy sauce sponges that crisp up with very little work on your part. This specific combination of qualities is what makes them the perfect candidate for a good Buffalo-ing. Slice them in half to reveal their honeycomb-like insides, give ‘em a quick air fry to get their grease moving and grooving, toss with sauce, then return the puffs to the air fryer for one final crisping. This entire process takes around seven minutes from start to finish, and that’s if you dawdle.
The result is a Buffalo bite that is chewy and crispy and utterly infused with buttery hot sauce. (If you replace the butter with margarine, they’re also completely vegan.) Their vegetarian nature is, however, almost completely beside the point. Buffalo tofu puffs are fun to eat, and everyone likes fun.
Buffalo Tofu Puffs
- 450 g tofu puffs
- 1/3 cup butter (or margarine)
- 1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce (or other hot sauce of your choosing)
- Blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping
- Carrot sticks, I guess? (No celery!)
Halve your puffs to expose their spongey insides.
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, move it off the burner and whisk in the hot sauce.
Heat the air fryer to 180°C. Add the halved tofu puffs to the basket to form a single layer (you may have to work in batches), and air fry for 3 minutes, until their outsides are crisp. Dump the puffs into a large mixing bowl and drizzle in sauce until the puffs are fully coated, tossing and letting the sauce absorb into the puffs after each addition.
Heat the air fryer to 200°C and return the sauced puffs to the basket. Air fry for 2 minutes, then toss them in the mixing bowl with another couple of drizzles of sauce. Serve immediately with ranch, blue cheese, or both.