I myself would love to call this spicy tofu recipe an almost-vegan guide to an utterly-balanced dish. It’s spicy, sweet, tangy, and satisfying at the same time. There’s no need to batter the tofu— just fry it up in whole pieces and slightly toss it with the spicy-tangy sauce later.
What you need for a tangy sweet spicy tofu meal?
Bold and garlicky flavor has remained the most popular characteristic of Asian cuisine. But still, there are always ingenious hints of sweetness in between. This really provides you full control on the final result— spicier or milder, you’re free to make your meal whatever way you prefer.
The art of merging the fresh, the mild and the subtle flavors into one plate
The mild heat is comprised of merging red chili powder and black pepper into one spice blend. Then, the citrusy hint from lemon and earthiness from the citronella will gently cut through the spice blend to finally neutralize it to a fresh and subtle flavor.
Considering a nice and hearty sweetener, I would definitely say maple syrup; and while soy sauce and oyster sauce help form the base, sesame oil will take it up a notch with its earthiness and mildness.
Tamari or sea salt can also take the position of soy sauce if you don’t want the gravy to be too watery.
Something to fill you in
Vegan, nut-free or grain-free— it’s just the matter of what your heart is fond of. You’re only one step away from making it wholly vegan by substituting oyster sauce with mushroom-flavored stir-fry sauce or black bean sauce.
In the same vein, this spicy tofu would be a nut-free and gluten-free frenzy— if that’s how you choose your soy sauce to be. Together with the crispy tender tofu, they’ll easily make for a total plant-based protein-rich indulgence.
Packaged tofu often comes in different textures, ranging from silken to extra-firm. I highly recommend for firm or extra-firm tofu only— It’s important to not let them broken down in chunks as no battering is required in the recipe. You will need them to stay whole pieces when fried, and come out with a crispy outer skin afterwards.
What to serve with spicy tofu?
It’s no doubt spicy tofu is served with rice. This dish is so easily well-rounded to the point that there’s no limit to which kind of rice is allowed in use.
For a lower carb option, let’s take cauliflower rice into account. Thus, you can now devour it either as a salad or an entrée sided with rice.
Spicy Tofu Recipe
- 12 oz extra-firm tofu
- 3/4 cup scallion chopped
- 1 tbsp ginger freshly grated
- 1 tbsp red chili powder
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp lemongrass bases of 6 stalks, minced
- 4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Wrap both sides of a tofu block in a clean, absorbent paper towel, put weight on top of it to completely drain out the excess liquid.
- In the meantime, grate the ginger and preheat oil in a large iron skillet over medium heat.
- Cut the tofu block evenly into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
- Stir-fry the tofu cubes on the heated skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes, until all sides are just light golden brown. Remove them from the skillet and set aside.
- Keep the skillet on and add the following ingredients in, successively: chopped scallions, grated ginger, red chili powder, black pepper, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Let simmer on low heat until the mixture coagulates. This all should take you 5 minutes.
- Return the fried tofu back to the skillet together with the sauce. Turn the heat on to medium-high and sauté for 2 minutes, stir and toss frequently until the sauce is slightly thickened a little more and the tofu cubes are fully coated.
- Remove the skillet from heat, sprinkle some chopped green onions on top and serve with steamed white rice. Feel free to be creative with the side dishes.
- Leftovers can be kept up to 3 days under refrigeration. Return the leftovers to the stovetop or simply microwave the whole pack to reheat and reuse.