Tofu is on the menu today! And it’s the bomb! Introducing Chili Crispy Tofu Bowls!
When I say it’s the bomb, I mean it’s an explosion of flavors AND textures. We have crispy tofu that has been fried until golden brown and coated with a savory, spicy, and sweet chili sauce. Most of you know tofu can taste great if well prepared, but if you are one of the few tofu haters who think it’s a mushy, tasteless piece of cardboard, you haven’t tried this recipe yet.
It’s easy to make, doesn’t require hard-to-find ingredients, and it’s ready in less than 40 minutes!
You start by draining the tofu to remove excess water. This step is essential to get it crispy on the outside. Make sure to use firm or extra firm tofu. Once this is done, we cut it into cubes and coat it with cornstarch, salt, and chili powder. Cornstarch helps make the tofu extra crispy.
Then deep-fry the tofu to golden perfection, drain excess oil, and coat with the sweet chili sauce.
I know some of you are not using oil or avoiding fried food, so I’m also giving an alternative method to bake the tofu instead of frying. It gets crispy on the edges and soft inside but takes a bit longer (about 30 minutes in the oven). I still prefer the fried version, though. It’s a bit crispier.
Personally, I think it’s okay to have fried food once in a while. As always, it’s all about balance. Okay…I released a recipe for fried Brussel Sprouts Bhaji 3 days ago but didn’t judge.
The 5-minute chili sauce is savory, sweet, and spicy. Don’t worry. It’s not a “mouth on fire” kind of spicy. The base of the sauce is tomato paste, soy sauce, maple syrup, and chili powder. I added rice vinegar for a subtle sourness, toasted sesame oil for a nuttier flavor, and cornstarch to help thicken the sauce.
I recommend coating the tofu with the sauce just before serving to keep its crispiness. Otherwise, the tofu will soften if you let it too long in the sauce.
These Chili Crispy Tofu Bowls are healthy, filling, and nutritious. You get healthy fats from the avocado, carbs from the brown rice, and a whopping 15g of protein from the tofu!
As always, let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
- 9 ounces firm tofu
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- oil for frying
Spicy Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 avocado
- chopped green onions, carrots, sesame seeds
- Start by cooking the rice: bring a large pot of water to a boil, add about 1/2 cup of rice, and cook according to the package instruction.
- While the rice is cooking, drain the tofu: place it on a layer of three or four kitchen paper towels, top with another layer of kitchen paper towels, and press firmly to remove excess water.
- Cut it into 2-inch cubes. Transfer the cubes to a baking dish. Add the cornstarch, salt, and chili powder, and mix to coat the tofu evenly.
- Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet. Once hot, carefully add the tofu, one cube at a time to ensure they don't stick to each other. Fry for about 3 minutes. Flip the tofu cubes halfway through frying and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil. Set aside.
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring regularly until it starts to slightly thicken. Add the fried tofu and stir to coat.
- Bowls: Divide the cooked brown rice between two bowls, top with sliced avocado, chili tofu, green onions, raw veggies like carrots or cucumber, and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.