The first time I made tofu for my family, my son declared it as “strange tasting chicken” and my daughter refused to eat it at all. That is, until I made them this recipe. Tofu is such an easy protein to cook with; there is next to no preparation required, it’s inexpensive, it keeps well in the fridge for weeks and when it’s prepared right, it’s absolutely delicious.

Crispy Sticky Tofu Bowls

A few months ago on my most recent cookbook shoot, I bonded with a colleague over her love for tofu. She explained that most nights after a big day of work, she would come home and make this easy recipe and I was so excited to recreate it at home… It’s been love ever since! This is tofu but not as you know it. It’s fried until deliciously crispy and golden before being coated in a sweet, sticky sauce. Although plain sliced cucumbers work a treat with this sticky tofu recipe, I highly recommend trying the cucumber salad below. It is so easy, and it’s fresh, crunchy, savoury and filled with ginger and sesame flavour. If you have been thinking about adding tofu to your weekly meal plan rotation, this is the recipe to try.

Crispy Sticky Tofu Bowls

How do I get my tofu super crispy?

Lightly dusting your tofu in corn flour/cornstarch will remove any excess liquid and will increase levels of crispiness.  

Which is the best tofu to buy for stir-frying?

The array of different tofu varieties may seem daunting. The most common types of tofu are silken, soft, medium, firm and extra firm. Non-silken tofu is also known as regular tofu. For this recipe, look for firm tofu which is perfect for grilling or frying. Medium and soft tofu will break apart in the pan.

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Crispy Sticky Tofu Bowls

Crispy Sticky Tofu Bowls

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Crispy Sticky Tofu Bowls are a fresh, easy and flavour-packed weeknight dinner, on the table in less than 20 minutes with minimal washing up. If you haven’t tried tofu before, this is the recipe to try!

  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger, freshly minced
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

Crispy Tofu

  • 500 g (17 oz)  firm tofu, drained (see note 1)
  • ¼ cup (30 g) corn flour/cornstarch, to coat
  • 4 tbsp olive oil

Sticky Sauce

  • 1 tsp garlic, freshly minced
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp corn flour/cornstarch
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water

To serve

  • Steamed jasmine rice
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 spring onion/scallion, finely sliced

Instructions

  1. To make the cucumber salad, combine the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
  2. Cut the tofu into small squares, approximately 2 cm or 3/4”.
  3. Dust each piece in the corn flour.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, then cook the tofu for 6-8 minutes (approximately 1-2 minutes per side) until golden brown. Set aside on a plate.
  5. Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, tamari or soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame oil. Cook, stirring for 1 minute or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  6. Combine the corn flour and water in a small bowl. Add to the pan 1 tablespoon at a time to thicken the sauce to your desired consistency.
  7. Return the tofu to the pan. Toss to coat in the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add 1 tbsp of water at a time to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency.
  8. Divide the rice and cucumber salad between four bowls. Top with the tofu and sprinkle with sesame seeds and spring onions.

Notes

Note 1 – Tofu is accessible in most major supermarkets. Look for tofu which is labelled “firm”. It is easy to slice and will not break apart in the pan as you cook it (unlike softer varieties). To prepare the tofu, you simply need to open the packet and drain any excess liquid. The tofu is then ready to slice and use. After opening, submerge unused tofu in water in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 10 days, changing the water every 2 days to maintain freshness.

MAKE AHEAD

These Crispy Sticky Tofu Bowls are the perfect recipe to make ahead of time, ready for busy moments. Refrigerate the cucumber salad and crispy sticky tofu separately for up to 3 days. Not suitable to freeze.

LEFTOVERS

Crispy Sticky Tofu Bowls make great leftovers! Refrigerate the cucumber salad and crispy sticky tofu separately for up to 3 days. Not suitable to freeze.

  • Author: Nicole
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: tofu
  • Cuisine: Asian