SEEMA Cooks: Crispy Air Fryer Tofu and Tofu Pakoda

Jul/23/2021 / by Malathy Chandrasekhar

Tofu seems to be all the rage these days, being promoted as a good source of vegan protein. A lot of folks treat this as a meat alternative, especially as they transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet. There is divided opinion on tofu’s health benefits, but there is no harm having it on occasion. I do not consider myself an expert on tofu since I have only been trying out a few recipes in the recent past.

What Is Tofu?

It is important to delve into some details about tofu. Also known as bean curd, tofu has its origins in China. It is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing into solid blocks. It has a texture similar to paneer (cottage cheese).

There are different varieties of tofu out there and it can get quite confusing for a newcomer, as it did with me. There are silken, soft, firm, extra and super firm varieties (I know!). I did my research and decided that the extra-firm kind would work best for the recipe I had in mind. I wanted to attempt something simple, like a spicy snack.

Most of the tofu available in American stores is genetically modified, so I would suggest that you opt for non-GMO, organic tofu, especially if the price difference is not significant or you eat it frequently.

Crispy Air Fryer Tofu

While there are several tofu recipes, I decided that the air fryer recipe would work best for starters. Why take on complex recipes at the very beginning? I zeroed in on this simple recipe that involved cutting extra firm tofu into cubes, mixing a few ingredients and cooking in an air fryer. I have skipped the only step of that could be daunting – pressing and draining it. It turned out crispy on the outside, soft on the inside even though I did not press it.

Air Fryer Tofu Pakoda

For the uninitiated, pakodas or pakoras are like fritters. There are all kinds of pakodas – onion, cauliflower, paneer (cottage cheese), chicken, you name it! These are dipped in a batter of chickpea and rice flour, along with some spices. Cooking pakodas in an air fryer can be tricky since the batter is somewhat runny. My solution to this problem was to make a thick batter and coat it very light so you can get the taste and crispiness of pakoda. It is not quite the same as the deep-fried variety, but far more healthy and quite delicious. Try it.

Why Is This Healthy?

Tofu is a nutrient-dense food. It is low in calories but high in protein and fat, and this makes it a great choice not just for vegans and vegetarians, but for anyone that wants a variety in their diet. It also contains many important vitamins and minerals.

You will love these two air fryer tofu recipes that are easy to make, delicious, and healthy! Enjoy them as snacks or appetizers or simply add them to your salad for that extra flavor and protein.

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 10 mins

Total time: 20 mins

Serves: 4

Calories: 163 kcal

Special diet: Gluten free, no added sugar, nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Crispy Air Fryer Tofu


  • 2 cups extra firm tofu (about 2/3rd of a 350-gram – 12.3 oz – block. Use the non-GMO variety)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp red chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp tamari sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil



1. Cut tofu into cube-sized pieces. Mix garlic and onion powder, corn starch, chili powder, ground black pepper and salt. Add tamari sauce and sesame oil and all ingredients to the bowl of tofu and mix evenly with a spoon.


2. Set tofu on the air fryer tray. Make sure the cubes are spread out. Close the air fryer, set temperature to 400 F and air-fry for 11 minutes.

3. The crispy air fryer tofu is ready. Serve hot.

Air Fryer Tofu Pakoda


  • 1 cup extra firm tofu – (about 2/3rd of a 350-gram – 12.3 oz – block of tofu). Use the non-GMO variety
  • 1 tsp rice flour
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tbsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/8 cup filtered water



1. Cut tofu to cube-sized pieces. In a bowl, gather ajwain seeds, rice and chickpea flour, red chili and coriander powder and salt. Add avocado oil, water, and mix well. Transfer on to the tofu and mix evenly with a spoon.

2. Set tofu on the air fryer tray – make sure the cubes are not touching. Close air fryer, set temperature to 400F and cook for 11 minutes.

3. The tofu pakoda is ready. Serve hot with sriracha sauce.


Great as a snack or appetizer or a vegan protein for your favorite salad.

*Use organic ingredients wherever possible

Malathy Chandrasekhar at Healthy Indian empowers people to live a nourishing, healthy lifestyle. Follow it on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramYouTube and Tumblr for healthy, easy and delicious recipes and lifestyle tips.

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