Tofu is on the menu today! And it's the bomb!
When I say it's the bomb I mean it's an explosion of flavors AND textures. What we have here is crispy tofu that has been fried until golden brown, coated with a savory, spicy and sweet chili sauce. Most of you guys 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 you 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 on the 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 release a recipe for fried Brussel Sprouts Bhaji 3 days ago but don't judge.
The 5-minute chili sauce is savory, sweet, and spicy. Don't worry, it's not "mouth on fire" kind of spicy. The base of the sauce is tomato paste, soy sauce, maple syrup, and chili powder. I also added rice vinegar for a subtle sourness, toasted sesame oil for a nuttier flavor, and some cornstarch to help thicken the sauce.
I recommend coating the tofu with the sauce just before serving if you want to keep its crispiness, otherwise the tofu will soften if you let it too long in the sauce.
These bowls are healthy, filling and packed with nutrients. You get healthy fats from the avocado, carbs from the brown rice, and a whopping 15g of protein coming from the tofu!
As always, let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Chili Crispy Tofu Bowls
- 9 ounces firm tofu
- 3 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon 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 ½ cup 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 make sure 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.