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One of the best parts about fried tofu is the contrast between the crispy outside and the pillowy soft inside. With deep frying, getting there means a lot of oil. With stir-frying it means a lot of, well, stirring. With waffling, it means neither. Low mess, low effort.
You'll want firm or extra-firm tofu for this recipe. It's packed in water and sold in the refrigerated section. Stay away from the shelf-stable varieties, which are too fragile to hold together well in the waffle iron. (For more on the differences between tofu types, see this seriously complete Serious Eats guide to tofu.)
As with waffle iron hash browns, the waffle iron crisps the tofu on both sides without the need for flipping or turning. A little soy sauce, miso paste, and sesame oil come together for a saucy marinade that packs a salty, nutty flavor.
Want to go the extra mile? Once you're finished cooking the tofu, you can crisp up some leftover rice in the waffle iron for more of that beautiful contrast between soft and crunchy (and as a bonus, waffling the tofu first and then the rice allows the latter to soak up any leftover sauce that may linger in the waffle iron).
Waffling works with both previously cooked Thai-style sticky rice or with Japanese-style rice. (If you're looking to make your own Thai-style sticky rice without any special equipment, this cooking method is invaluable.) Leftover Western-style rice can work, too, though it may be more of a struggle to remove from the waffle iron intact.
When everything is finished waffling, serve it chopped up and mixed together in a bowl, preserving the waffle grid pattern as you cut. That is, after all, part of the fun.
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