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
- 16 oz extra-firm tofu
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp scallion chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 3/2 tsp red pepper flake
- 3/2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp lemongrass
- 3/2 tbsp lite soy sauce
- 2 tsp ginger grated
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 4 1/2 cups cooked medium-grain rice equals to 3/2 cups uncooked
- 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, chop the lemongrass and preheat oil in a large iron skillet over medium heat.
- Cut the tofu block evenly into 1-inch cubes. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil on a skillet over medium heat, add grated ginger and the tofu cubes, fry the first side for 11 minutes. Toss to turn, watch as all sides of the cubes are golden brown. The total time amount is 25 minutes.
- Transfer the fried tofu to a clean plate, set aside.
- Keep the skillet on low-medium heat and add in the following ingredients: lemongrass, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, dark soy sauce, and lemon juice. Stir quickly so the mixture coagulates and is slightly thickened. This must be done within 2 minutes only; otherwise, the sauce could get too dense on heat.
- Add the fried tofu back into the skillet. Toss.
- Continue to add all the remaining ingredients: ground black pepper, red pepper flake, and sesame oil. Toss the mixture so the tofu cubes are fully coated with the sauce.
- Sprinkle some chopped scallions. Turn off the heat.
- Serve spicy tofu with hot steamed white rice.