As it's Veganuary and I've already had a couple of low carb recipe requests, I'm hoping that this Crispy Chilli Tofu will be the perfect addition to your weeknight meal plan. For those of you who are a little sceptical about plant-based alternatives or have never cooked with tofu before, I urge you to be brave and give this recipe a try. It's a little messy but the flavour is worth the washing up, and I promise you won't miss the meat!
I always used to think that recipes dominated by chillies would be packed with heat, but when they're used in moderation and cooked down, the red chillies provides a lovely sweetness and warmth. Hope you enjoy!
INGREDIENTS; (Serves 2)
For the Tofu marinade:
- 1 pack firm Tofu
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon sriracha (optional if you want a little more kick)
I tend to use the Toofoo tofu brand which is readily available in supermarkets. Whatever brand you choose to use, make sure you're using firm tofu otherwise it will disintegrate and won't hold its shape.
For the sauce
- 1 cup of cornflour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- Rapeseed oil
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 red chilli, chopped and de-seeded
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- Sesame seeds
- Chopped spring onion
Drain the block of tofu and dry with kitchen roll then chop into small cubes and add them to a bowl.
Add the marinade ingredients to the tofu and gently mix together until it is coated. The sriracha is an optional addition here if you'd like a spicier base. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
While the tofu is marinating, deseed and finely slice the red chilli and chop up two of the spring onions and put aside.
Heat a large frying pan and pour enough rapeseed oil in the pan to cover the base.
Take the tofu out of the fridge. Pour a cup of cornflour into a separate bowl and add the salt and white pepper. Take a piece of tofu from the marinade and roll it in the cornflour until coated on all sides then place in the hot oil and repeat. Make sure you don't overcrowd the pan. It's better to do two batches of tofu that come out nice and crispy. Keep the marinade as this will form the base of the sauce.
You'll need to turn each piece of tofu every couple of minutes until it's crisp on all sides but this doesn't take long when the oil is hot.
Once the tofu is nice and golden, remove with a slotted spoon and place them on some kitchen roll to remove any excess oil. You can put a piece of foil over the top to keep them warm while you go back and do the second batch. If you're doing rice I'd put it on at this point.
Now it's time for the sauce. Place a pan on a medium heat and pour in the left over marinade that the tofu was sitting in. Add another teaspoon of grated ginger, a tablespoon of soy sauce, and the chopped chilli and spring onions. Leave to cook out for a few minutes.
Mix a heaped teaspoon of cornflour with a small glass of water and add to the pan. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, give it a taste and make sure the heat level works for you, if it's a little hot, add a little more water and wait to thicken, then you're ready to plate up.
Serve on a bed of rice. Add the tofu on top and pour over the chilli sauce. Top with the remaining spring onion and garnish with sesame seeds.
I tend to serve this with some steamed broccoli or snow peas on a small bed of rice. If you're looking for a low carb alternative to the rice, cooking a portion of cauliflower rice with a teaspoon of minced ginger and a dash of sesame oil would also work well. Let me know how it goes!