Crispy Tofu

There was a Thai restaurant in college that I went to…well, all the time.

Thaiger Room, right on the Ave in Seattle.

It’s a small, dark restaurant with grease-stained windows and tiny tables for two scattered around.

But the food…

Noodles are perfectly cooked. The sauces are spicy, sweet, tangy.

But the tofu…

The fried tofu appetizer (with a side of peanut sauce) was my go-to order. The cubes of tofu were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The peanut sauce was creamy, with a nice kick.

Washed down with an ice-cold Diet Coke, it was the perfect meal.

On good days and bad, celebrating the end of a quarter or stress-eating about an upcoming chemistry exam, you could find me at =Thaiger Room, eating my feelings. And the same dish, every time.

It’s been 11 years since I graduated from college, with only a few visits since.

But I’m still eating this dish – albeit, a slightly healthier version.

There’s one important step that delivers crispy crunchy tofu every time – without the help of a deep fryer.

Paired with Leelalicious’ peanut sauce (I replace the red curry paste for 2 tablespoons of Sriracha), and you have one of my all-time favorite meals at home.


  • 1 block of firm tofu (sprouted, if possible, which digests easier than non-sprouted tofu)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Paprika
  • Coconut oil


  • Place tofu on its side and cut in half. Lay the two halves side by side.
  • Put a second cutting board (or tray, or baking dish) on top of the tofu, with 3-4 heavy books on top of the tray. Leave for 10-15 minutes, so all the excess water is removed.
  • Cut tofu into 1” cubes and season heavily with salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet. Place tofu in the hot oil, leaving plenty of space between each piece.
  • Once browned, flip each piece of tofu and let it brown. Continue flipping until all pieces are evenly cooked.
  • Repeat until all the tofu has been cooked.

This cauliflower fried rice and deconstructed egg roll are in heavy rotation in our home. I publish a new recipe every Monday. You can find them all here.