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Crispy Chili Tofu Bowls

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!

Sweet Chili Tofu Bowls

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.

Sweet Chili Tofu Bowls

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.

Sweet Chili Tofu Bowls

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.

Sweet Chili Tofu Bowls

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!

If you are looking for more tofu recipes, check out this Vegan Tofu Borsch!

As always, let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

Crispy Chili Tofu Bowls

Chili Crispy Tofu Bowls
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Recipe
Crispy Chili Tofu Bowls

Chili Crispy Tofu Bowls

5 from 8 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Crispy tofu tossed with a sweet and spicy chili sauce. Served with brown rice, avocado, and green onions. The perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and savory!
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cook Time : 5 minutes
Total Time : 15 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 437 kcal

Ingredients
 

Fried Tofu

  • 9 ounces firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • oil for frying

Spicy Sweet Chili Sauce

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch

Bowls

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 avocado
  • chopped green onions, carrots, sesame seeds

Instructions
 

Fried Tofu

  • 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.

Notes

Baked Tofu: If you prefer to bake instead of frying, preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the tofu into cubes and season with salt and chili powder. Leave out the cornstarch. Place the tofu on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 (includes avocado and rice) | Calories: 437 kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.5 g | Protein: 15.2 g | Fat: 21.3 g | Fiber: 8.2 g | Sugar: 8.2 g
Course : Entree, Main Course
Cuisine : Asian
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

Learn more ➜

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The way you prepped this tofu looks delicious.

5 stars
Excellent! I don’t use oil so I just used a bit less cornstarch to coat the tofu and dried fried in a nonstick skillet. I also left the sesame oil out of the sauce and added sesame seeds as a garnish instead. It was delicious, like tofu I’ve had in restaurants, but so much healthier.

Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious and the sauce was yummy.

5 stars
I made this because I had all the ingredients on hand, except green onion & avocado. What I hit! Will definitely be making this again. So easy and so good!

5 stars
The recipe is soooo good, the sauce on the tofu is spot on.

Great recipe, the tofu is delicious with the spicy sauce. I add more sliced veggies such as radish, cucumber, peas.

5 stars
This is so good! I actually cooked it to have for lunch at work the next few days but tasted it. The sauce is amazing! I am serving it over steamed rice and using broccoli for the vegetable. I baked it and it turned out great!

5 stars
Absolutely AMAZING!! I was craving tofu today and this hit the spot! I didn’t even have to go out to get ingredients. I was worried the sauce smelt vinegary as I added the tofu to it, but it tasted beautiful.

Tofu comes in 1 lb blocks. as soon as I read 9 oz. I moved on to another recipe..

5 stars
So so good!! Thank you fo sharing!

5 stars
tasty prep – our first cooking of tofu at home – your recipe had great flavor and was easy

5 stars
This recipe was absolutely amazing. Definitely will redo often .