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Quick Sweet Chili Tofu Recipe

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Sweet Chili Tofu | Crispy tofu pieces coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. This sticky sweet chili tofu recipe is ready in under 20 minutes and made with simple ingredients you likely have on hand! The easiest vegan dinner recipe.

Sweet chili tofu and rice in a bowl with chopsticks.

Sweet chili tofu is a super quick and easy vegan dinner option! Ready in under 20 minutes and with just a handful of ingredients, this is the perfect recipe for a lazy weeknight dinner.

I freeze my tofu and put it in the fridge for about 24 hours before I cook it. Freezing the tofu provides a meatier texture that soaks up sauce more easily. I recommend freezing your tofu for this recipe!

If you know someone who can’t eat soy but you think they’d love this recipe, try Big Mountain Soy Free Tofu.

The homemade sweet chili sauce is a delicious blend of brown sugar for sweetness, sambal oelek for spice, fresh garlic, soy sauce for umami flavour, and cornstarch to thicken it. This bold sauce is perfect for not only tofu but also noodles and vegetables, or as a dipping sauce for appetizers.

Choosing the right tofu for stir fry

I recommend using extra firm tofu but firm or medium firm tofu will also work. Softer tofu is more likely to fall apart and break, plus firmer tofu has a heartier texture which pairs well with the smooth sticky sauce.

How to make gluten free sweet chili tofu

Make gluten free sweet chili tofu by using gluten free soya sauce or tamari instead of regular soya sauce. Some brands make soya sauce with rice instead of wheat.

Also, make sure the chili paste you use is gluten free.

How to make sweet chili tofu stir fry

If you want a heartier meal, try making stir fry. Fry the tofu pieces according to this recipe. Mix the sauce and set aside.

Cook aromatics like ginger, garlic, and chilis in a wok for 15-20 seconds. Then add any vegetables you want. Cook for a minute, then add the tofu and the sweet chili sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Serve with noodles or rice.

Ingredients

More about the ingredients in this recipe. The exact measurements are below.

Sweet chili tofu ingredients on a marble background with black text.
  • Extra firm tofu- I freeze and thaw my tofu to get the best texture! Firm or medium firm will also work.
  • Soya sauce and corn starch- Soya sauce provides flavour to the tofu and corns starch helps it get crispy.
  • Sweet chili sauce- The perfect blend of sambal oelek, brown sugar, soya sauce, fresh garlic and corn starch.

Instructions

  • Drain the tofu brick and wrap it in pape towel. Place it under a heavy bowl or pan and let it side for 10 minutes.
Mixing sweet chili sauce ingredients.

Mix the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Mixing tofu with soya sauce and corn starch.

Cut the tofu into 1 inch pieces and mix with the soya sauce, then the corn starch.

Frying tofu in a wok.

Heat a drizzle of oil in a wok pan on medium heat. Add the tofu and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, to brown all sides.

Cooking tofu and sweet chili sauce.

Add the sweet chili sauce and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. The sauce will thicken significantly, creating a sticky coating on the tofu.

Serve with rice, sliced green onion, and extra hot sauce if you like spice.

Sweet chili tofu and rice in a bowl.

Tips for making sweet chili tofu

  • Freeze and thaw the tofu before using- Freezing tofu provides the best texture.
  • Use extra firm, firm, or medium firm tofu. Softer tofu is more likely to fall apart.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds, and sliced green onion or cilantro.

What to serve with sweet chili tofu

Serve sweet chili tofu with steamed or fried rice, or stir fried noodles.

Skip the tofu in my Tofu Udon Stir Fry and serve with the sweet chili tofu instead!

Try a light side of blanched or stir fried Asian greens, like bok choy or Chinese broccoli.

Serve a side of sesame slaw, or spicy cucumber salad.

If you like spice, top the tofu with extra sambal oelek or sriracha.

Substitutions

  • Sambal oelek is a chili garlic paste, if you don’t have it you could use sriracha.
  • White sugar will work instead of brown sugar.

Storage

Store the tofu in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. To reheat the tofu, microwave it or heat in a wok until heated through. Store in the freezer in an air tight container for up to 2 months. Reheat in the microwave or wok with a splash of water to thin the sauce out.

Sweet chili tofu and rice in a bowl.

FAQ’s

Is sweet chili tofu spicy?

Sweet chili tofu has a balance of sweetness and spiciness. You can always adjust the spice level to suit your taste preference.

Is sweet chili tofu gluten free?

You can make sweet chili tofu gluten free by using gluten free soya sauce or tamari! Make sure your chili garlic paste is gluten free as well.

What can I make sweet chili tofu in the air fryer?

Yes! Simply toss the tofu in soya sauce and corn starch, and air fry for 8 minutes, or until crispy. Serve with sweet chili sauce.

Sweet chili tofu in a bowl with rice.

Sweet Chili Tofu

5 from 1 vote
Crispy tofu pieces coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. This sticky sweet chili tofu recipe is ready in 20 minutes and made with simple ingredients you likely have on hand! The easiest vegan dinner recipe ever.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 4

Equipment

  • 1 wok pan wok is the easiest, but a regular frying pan will work too
  • 1 rubber tongs
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 mixing bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 350 grams extra firm tofu I used frozen and thawed tofu
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sambal oelek
  • 3 tablespoon soya sauce divided
  • 3 tablespoon corn starch divided
  • oil for cooking

Instructions
 

  • Drain the tofu block and wrap it in paper towel. Place it under a heavy bowl and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Mix water, brown sugar, sambal oelek, garlic, 1 tablespoon soya sauce, and 1 tablespoon corn starch to make the sauce. Set aside.
  • Cut the tofu into 1 inch pieces and toss it in the remaining soya sauce and corn starch.
  • Heat a drizzle of oil in a wok over medium heat. A regular frying pan will work, but a wok is easier.
  • Add the tofu to the wok and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown all sides.
  • Add the sauce to the tofu and stir. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens.

Video

Notes

Freeze the tofu and thaw it before cooking for the best texture that soaks up sauce.
Serve with rice and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.

Nutrition

Calories: 146kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 8gFat: 2gSugar: 16g
Keyword sweet chili tofu
Tried this recipe?Mention @theveggieyaya or tag #theveggieyaya!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

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