Spicy Tofu in Coconut Cream Sauce

How to transfer tofu into a gourmet vegetarian meal with four easy steps.

I remember the first time I ever had tofu. it was in a massaman curry dish that I had at a little restaurant in Queens, NY. I instantly fell in love with the texture and flavor! I wanted to recreate these crispy little flavor-packed squares at home so I went out and bought some tofu. Little did I know that tofu in its raw form is colorless and flavorless, and not at all crispy! There are four easy steps to making bland tofu into a gourmet feast: drain, marinate, season, and fry. Plan on starting the day before you want to make this tofu meal, but don't let the mention of all this time scare you away from this tasty recipe! All that is required of you is 15 minutes to prep it and 15 minutes to cook it; the tofu does the rest of the work. Cornstarch is key to getting the crispy fry on tofu, so make sure you don't omit it. Serve with a glass of shiraz from the limestone coast of Australia as you forget all about meat... because you won't miss it!

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The best way to make tofu for dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 14 oz. organic firm tofu
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp juice from a jar of pickled jalapeños
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 drops liquid stevia
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper adobo seasoning with roasted tomato
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 T yellow curry powder
  • pinch of stevia powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 T sesame oil, plus more as needed
  • 15 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish

 

Directions:

 

The night before: Drain the tofu by placing it on a small sheet pan lined with several paper towels. Cover the tofu with another several layers of paper towel, then place something flat and heavy on top, like a cast iron skillet. Refrigerate overnight. 

 

The morning of: Marinate the tofu. Start by whisking together the soy sauce, jalapeño juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, liquid stevia, and chipotle in a small bowl. Cut the drained tofu into 3/4 inch cubes and place them on a plate in a single layer. Pour the marinade over, then toss the tofu very gently to coat, being careful not to break it apart (tofu is fragile when raw). Once coated, seat each cube in the marinade in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.

 

Twenty minutes before it is time to eat, whisk together the cornstarch, curry powder, stevia powder, and salt in a small bowl. Toss the tofu carefully in the cornstarch mixture until each piece is coated. Shake off any excess by placing the tofu in a slotted spoon and tapping it against the side of the bowl (although most of the powder will get absorbed by the tofu quickly). Set aside.

 

Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the skillet is searing hot before you begin! Once the oil begins to smoke, add the tofu squares to the skillet in a single layer. Allow them to sear for about a minute on each side. To turn the tofu, use kitchen tongs but be careful not to crush them. Keep turning until all sides of each square are light golden brown and crispy, but not burned, adding sesame oil a teaspoon at a time to keep the skillet from drying out. This whole process will take about 6 minutes, but you will need to be constantly turning the squares during this time. When all sides are browned, remove the tofu to a plate.

 

Add the coconut milk (including the fat) to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Whisk occasionally to keep from boiling over. Add in the Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes and whisk to combine. Simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces by half, about 5 minutes.

 

Spoon the coconut milk reduction over mixed lettuces (or steamed basmati rice, if you prefer), then top with the tofu. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and a pinch of red pepper flakes.



Nutritional Information

and Macros Per Serving:

Nutritional information for a fried tofu recipe.


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