Crispy Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce

July 6, 2012

I don’t remember exactly where I found this tofu recipe; I made a photocopy from a library book and pasted it in my cookbook binder quite a while ago because I thought it sounded interesting. Well, it has instantly become one of my favorite ways (so far) to use tofu! The recipe is fast enough to make on a weeknight: start some coconut rice cooking while the tofu is draining, add a quick steamed vegetable, and you’re all set for supper.

Next time I think I will try cooking the tofu in my mini deep-fryer rather than a skillet. Since the tofu is half submerged with the amount of oil used in the skillet anyway, it seems like it would be faster and less messy (because the skillet splattered a lot) to allow all sides to cook at once in a deep-fryer. Although the recipe said that cooking the tofu to a light golden color should only take about 4 minutes, I found that I had to cook each of the 4 sides for at least 2-3 minutes to get any sort of color. Not sure if I didn’t allow the oil to heat long enough initially. Despite this, it was still delicious and I will definitely be making it again!

Note: The sauce turned out a lot spicier than I expected. If you don’t want want as much heat, cut the chili-garlic sauce down to a half tablespoon.

Crispy tofu

Serves 2



  • 3  tablespoons water
  • 1/4  cup water
  • 1/4  cup rice vinegar
  • 2  teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1  tablespoon Asian chili-garlic sauce


  • 1  (14 ounce) block medium-firm tofu
  • 3/4  cup cornstarch
  • 1/4  cup yellow cornmeal
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4  cup vegetable oil


  1. For the sauce: Whisk all the ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until hot and thickened, about 4 minutes. Cover to keep warm.
  2. For the tofu: Slice the block of tofu crosswise into 1-inch-thick slabs, then slice each slab into two 1-inch-wide sticks (you should have eight pieces). Spread the tofu out on several layers of paper towels and let sit to drain for 20 minutes.
  3. Toss the cornstarch and cornmeal together in a shallow dish. Season the tofu with salt and pepper. Working a with a few pieces at a time, coat the tofu thoroughly with the cornstarch mixture, pressing to help it adhere. Transfer the pieces to a wire rack.
  4. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Carefully lay the tofu in the skillet and cook until crisp and lightly golden on all sides, turning as needed, about 4 minutes.
  5. Gently transfer the tofu to a paper-towel-lined plate, letting any excess oil drip back into the pan. Season with salt to taste and serve with warm sauce.


  1. […] In Teacups « Upcoming art show Crispy Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce » Coconut Rice July 6, […]

  2. I found a very similar recipe but instead of calling for 3 T of water in addition to the ¼ C in the sauce, it has 3 T sugar.. might help balance the acidity a little more?

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