In this spicy tofu recipe, I flavored both the tofu and it’s crispy coating with a little punch. Don’t worry about the spice being too much, however, because the coconut cream sauce will compliment any heat – toning it down perfectly.
My favorite way to serve this spicy tofu is on a bed of cooked basmati rice. The rice becomes like a pudding when it soaks up all that coconut milk.
Spicy Tofu in Coconut Cream Sauce
- sheet pan
- cast iron skillet
- 14 oz firm tofu
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tsp juice from a jar of pickled jalapeños
- ½ tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
- ½ tsp chipotle pepper in adobo seasoning
- ¼ tsp lemon juice
- 2 drops liquid stevia extract
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tbsp yellow curry powder
- 1 pinch powdered stevia
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tbsp sesame oil plus more as needed
- 15 oz unsweetened coconut milk full fat
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- fresh cilantro for garnish
- 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 towels then place something flat and heavy on top, like a cast iron skillet or a plate weighted down with something heavy. Refrigerate overnight.
- The morning of: Remove the tofu from the sheet pan and discard the liquid. To make the marinade, whisk together the soy sauce, jalapeño juice, rice vinegar, chipotle pepper in adobo seasoning, lemon juice and liquid stevia in a measuring cup. Cut the drained tofu into ¾ inch cubes and place them on a plate in a single layer. Pour the marinade over, then gently toss the tofu to coat. Be very careful not to break the tofu as it is very fragile when raw! Once coated, seat each tofu cube into the marinade remaining on the plate in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.
- Twenty minutes before it is time to eat, sift together the cornstarch, curry powder, stevia powder, and salt in a shallow bowl. Carefully toss the tofu in the cornstarch mixture until each piece is coated. (Most, if not all, of the cornstarch mixture will be picked up quickly by the moist tofu, so you will need to work fast while being careful not to break the tofu.) Set aside.
- Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the skillet is searing hot before you add the tofu! 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 or two spoons, but be careful not to crush the tofu. Keep turning until all sides of each square are light golden brown and crispy, but not burned. Add more sesame oil a teaspoon at at time to keep the skillet from drying out. This whole process will take 6-8 minutes, but you will need to constantly be turning the squares during this time. Once all sides of each square are browned, transfer the tofu to a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the coconut milk (including the fat) to the hot skillet. (It is important to whisk the fat into the milk before adding it to the skillet because this is what makes the sauce so creamy!) Whisk the milk in the skillet to keep it from boiling over, then whisk in the Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes. Simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces by half, about 5 minutes.
- To serve, spoon the coconut milk over raw spinach, steamed wakami, steamed basmati rice, or any combination of these three. Top with the tofu and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and a pinch of red pepper flakes.