Crispy Salted Tofu with Spicy Pepper Sauce (aka: CRISPY SPICY TOFU OF AWESOMENESS)
I didn’t know what to call this recipe – basically it should be called CRISPY SPICY TOFU OF AWESOMENESS but that doesn’t sound professional. I’m going to stick with my more pro sounding Crispy Salted Tofu with Spicy Pepper Sauce… but we’ll know its real name…
This tofu is crispy, salty, crunchy, and just a little spicy. It’s extremely satisfying and fun to eat! Because it’s not deep fried it doesn’t require any fancy equipment and is actually quite quick to make. Make this, you won’t be sorry! You don’t need to serve it over lettuce, I just did in order to make the photos look better and also the lettuce helps to soak up any residual oil and sauce. Totally up to you! 🙂
So this recipe was inspired by a tofu dish I had at some local Chinese restaurants that I am totally gaga over. However, in my failed attempts to recreate their dishes I came up with this gem – a delight in its own right (I’m a poet now apparently).
This comes together super quickly and only makes use of minimal ingredients. The only unusual ingredient that I use is Korean red pepper flakes called gochugaru, which is the same spice that is used in kimchi. These flakes are not the same as the ones in the shaker that you put on pizza and pasta. These are significantly less spicy and have a bit of a fresh taste to them. They do still pack a punch, however, but they won’t knock your socks off with spice. I found gochugaru at the local Asian grocery store. I got an enormous bag for $5. Apparently you can get it in powder or flake form (also labelled as fine or coarse), I use the flake/coarse version. Here is a small blurb about gochugaru.
By stirring the gochugaru into the soy sauce, the gochugaru plumps up and thickens the sauce that you will be drizzling over your crispy tofu. If you don’t have access to gochugaru, you can use a pinch of red pepper flakes (maybe 1/4 tsp tops) in some soy sauce to make it spicy, or even simply substitute a little sriracha mixed with soy sauce. However, if you have an Asian grocery store, I highly recommend picking up a bag of gochugaru.
This tofu is intended to be crispy and not saucy, that’s why there isn’t a significant amount of sauce – if you want it saucier, make more sauce!
- 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari * see note
- 1 tbsp gochugaru (or sub up to ¼ tsp red pepper flakes or sriracha * see note)
- Oil for frying
- 1 block firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Sea salt for sprinkling on the fried tofu
- Green onion garnish, chopped
- In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce and the gochugaru, set aside.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan (about ¼ cup, depending on the size of your pan).
- In a small bowl toss together the tofu, the salt and pepper, and the cornstarch, coating the tofu well.
- Once the pan has heated up, test to see if the oil is hot by placing one piece of tofu in the pan. If it sizzles, the pan is ready.
- Add all the tofu to the pan, spaced evenly. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the one side is crispy. Turn all the pieces and cook for a couple more minutes. Turning every few minutes to ensure each side is golden and crispy, about 10 minutes
- Once all the sides are done remove the tofu to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
- While the tofu is hot and still on the paper towel, sprinkle with some sea salt. The heat of the tofu will melt the salt crystals leaving you with a salty crispy crust on each tofu cube.
- Place the tofu on your serving plate, and drizzle the top with your soy sauce mixture and sprinkle with some chopped green onion.
If you decide to make this recipe, please RATE/COMMENT below! Thanks 🙂