Sweet chilli sauce has always been one of my favourites. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s sticky – all the best adjectives. I use it for all sorts of things (it’s bizarrely good on quesadillas!), but one thing it goes especially well with is tofu – hence, this sticky sweet chilli tofu!
Let’s face it, tofu doesn’t exactly have a huge amount of flavour on its own, so it needs a bold flavour to bring it to life, and sweet chilli sauce is perfect. You can use it as a stir fry sauce on its own if you’re feeling ultra lazy (this is me 90% of the time), or you can add a few more flavours for a slightly more interesting dinner. This time I added some garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and some red chilli for a little more heat.
As usual, make sure you cook the tofu in a pan without the sauce first until it’s nice and crispy. This is what gives it a bit of bite – otherwise, tofu can sometimes be a bit bleh. I really can’t think of another word to describe the texture of tofu that hasn’t been cooked properly, but I’m sure you all know what I mean. It’s like there’s nothing whatsoever between your teeth. Cooking it until it’s crispy gives you something to chew on!
This time I cut my tofu into little triangles because I thought it would look pretty. To be honest though, I think it works better if you cut it into cubes like I did here – that way, you get more crispy edges, and it’s also easier to make sure it gets crispy alllll over rather than just on the two big flat faces. It’s totally up to you, but next time I’ll be cutting it into cubes again.
What can I say, I tried to be different and interesting and in the end I just wanted plain old squares (insert sad emoji).
When the tofu triangles or cubes or whatever are golden brown and have crisped up nicely on the edges, you can add your sauce. You want to reduce it until it’s thick and sticky (yum).
I also added a load of stir fried veggies. You can use any kind – I was lazy and used a pre-chopped bag of cabbage, carrot, mushrooms, beansprouts and red onion. It’s way quicker, way easier, and way cheaper than buying each vegetable separately, so I feel absolutely no shame (in fact, quite the opposite, it’s a pretty clever thing to do). Just fry them all up for a couple of minutes, and mix them in with your sticky sweet chilli tofu.
Serve some rice or noodles on the side and voilà! (or whatever the less French, more Thai equivalent is)
- 200 g firm tofu (~ 1 cup)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 75 ml sweet chilli sauce (~ 1/4 cup)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 small mild red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp minced ginger
- Black pepper
- 300 g mixed vegetables, chopped (~ 3 cups chopped)
- To serve: fresh coriander (cilantro), spring onions
Start by pressing the tofu if you want to (I sometimes don't bother). If you don't have a tofu press, just sandwich it between two clean tea towels and place a few heavy books or pans on top, and leave for 30 minutes.
Cut the tofu into triangles or cubes. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the tofu. Cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, turning regularly, until the tofu is golden brown and crispy all over.
Meanwhile, combine the sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, chopped chilli, garlic and ginger in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.
Add the sauce to the crispy tofu, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring regularly, until the sauce has become thick and sticky.
Stir fry the vegetables in a separate pan, then serve with the sweet chilli tofu, topped with fresh coriander and some chopped spring onions.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above includes vegetables, but not rice / noodles.