Friday 24 February 2012

Crispy Fried Tofu in a Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

Crispy Fried Tofu in a Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

Served over a bed of steamed basmati rice

Crispy Fried Tofu in a Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

Oh my god. This was amazing!! If you have been following this blog for awhile you'll note this is quite similar to Yotam Ottenlenghi's Fiery Black Pepper Tofu I made a few years back. I always wanted to revisit this one as I loved the way the tofu was prepared (probably the only way I'll eat tofu that hasn't been marinated) and I really enjoyed the other flavours, it was just way too hot and didn't have enough sauce for my liking.

Back in England I always used to get this Japanese Tofu in Teriyaki Sauce from our local noodle bar, it was so good I would usually just order it and some steamed rice and nothing else. It was similarly fried silken tofu but in this delicious thick, sweet/salty soy based sauce with strips of spring onion. So I had a search online for some teriyaki sauces and settled on this one with a few changes. I wanted to keep this a spicy dish mind you, so I kept the chili in there but vastly reduced the pepper and used Szechuan peppercorns instead, although you can just use regular peppercorns. OR you could easily omit both the chili and peppercorns for a non spicy dish, this sauce has so much flavour it'll still taste fantastic without them.

Altogether this was perfect - that sauce is amazing, there's plenty of it and I found the spice level just right, a nice gentle burn but nothing that is overpowering. My only complaint is that I'm the only one in the house that likes tofu and I couldn't share it with anyone and it's too good not too!! So, I'm going to virtually share it with you all instead :-) Enjoy!

Crispy Fried Tofu in a Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

Crispy Fried Tofu in a Spicy Teriyaki Sauce - serves 1

100g Firm Silken Tofu
Cornstarch to dredge
Vegetable oil to fry
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
60ml or 1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar, I used light muscovado
1 tsp light agave syrup
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 Bird's Eye Chili, deseeded and sliced thin
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
1/4 tsp whole Szechuan peppercorns
1 spring onion, halved and sliced thin lengthwise
50g or 1/4 cup dry weight rice of your choice, I used white basmati. 

Wrap the tofu up in some paper towels and then in a clean dish cloth and leave to absorb some of the excess liquid. Change the paper towels a few times to get out as much moisture as possible. 

Meanwhile get all your ingredients prepared: sliced shallots, spring onion, finely chopped ginger, garlic and chili. Mix together the soy sauce, water, agave syrup and add brown sugar, stir to dissolve the sugar. Unwrap the tofu and weigh out 100g and cube them whatever size you like but not too small and gently toss them in cornstarch (cornflour). Grind the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or by smashing with a rolling pin under some cling film. Put the rice on to cook now.

In a wok add some vegetable oil, about an inch deep, I added 100g to my small wok and bring to high heat, it should just start to be smoking. Re-coat the tofu pieces in cornstarch (cornflour) as they will have likely absorbed the first amount. This will give you extra crispy tofu! Fry until crispy and golden on one side then flip and do the other. If you have cut the tofu more cubed shape do all 4 sides. Mine only needed the 2 large sides done.

Turn off the heat and remove the tofu onto paper towels to drain:

Remove the oil from the wok and remove any sediment with a bunch of paper towels, taking care as the pan will still be hot! Add a teaspoon of oil, whatever you like, I used peanut oil and return to the heat but keep it low. Add the shallots, ginger, garlic, ground peppercorns and chili and fry gently until nice and fragrant and the shallots start to soften, just a minute or two. Take care not to burn the garlic. Add the soy sauce mixture and simmer until the shallots are soft, just a minute or two. 

Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir this into the mixture. Keep stirring until it just gets thick, about a minute or less, then turn off the heat.  Add the tofu and spring onions then toss gently with a rubber spatula until the tofu is well coated in sauce and warmed and the spring onions just start to wilt. The residual heat will be enough to do this.

Your rice should be ready by now so drain well if boiling or just give it a fluff if steaming and spoon onto a plate or into a shallow bowl. Place the tofu on top and scrape all the sauce over top. Serve immediately!

Crispy Fried Tofu in a Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

2013 Edit - I made this variation for dinner for my husband who hates tofu (!) Same sauce recipe but instead of frying tofu I sautéed some asparagus, sugar snap peas and half a tin of drained chick peas in a little peanut oil. Tossed them into the thickened sauce and served over wholegrain basmati rice. A delicious variation!

Nutritional Information: 1 serving with rice portion stated.

Calories: 482
Protein: 12.8g
Fat: 17.7g
Sat Fat: 1g
Fibre: 1.2g
Carbs: 70.7g
Sugar: 16.9g
Sodium: 942mg

I've been enjoying this so much it's been my lunch 3 days in a row! Here are some photos I took of the second day - I'm experimenting with injecting more colour in my photos, what do you think? Does it work? Food photography is such on ongoing learning lesson for me :-) 

Crispy Fried Tofu in a Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

Crispy Fried Tofu in a Spicy Teriyaki Sauce

The third day I had this was the first time I didn't take any pictures and thus the first time I actually had it hot!! Wow, it's even better when fresh off the wok, the downside of food blogging - always eating new foods lukewarm :-)

You Might Also Like:

Sweet Ginger Tofu with Pak Choi and Jasmine RiceSticky Lime and Chilli Tofu with Broccoli Rice


  1. Stunning. Wow, looks like my favourite way of cooking tofu too, though we've found that self raising flour makes the tofu even lighter and crispier would you believe?! Of course you may already know this lol. I can't wait to try this recipe, thank you :D

  2. Oooh, I didn't know that but it makes sense! Thanks so much for the tip, will definitely try that next time I make this :-) Hope you like it too!

  3. I'm not a big fan of silken tofu, but that sauce has got me drooling.

  4. so so good!! Even my husband ate it and loved it! I used a mix of potato and corn starch, I think it made it even crispier. I also used portobello mushroom instead of the onions. It was delicious, thank you for sharing such great directions.

  5. Excellent! So glad you both liked it :-) Love the idea of mushrooms in there too!

  6. This. Was. Amazing! I've only ever seen silken tofu blended up in desserts and sauces so I was skeptical, but it came out crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. We served it over noodles and it was like Japanese takeout! Next time, I think we'll add some pak choi and shiitakes and double the sauce. Thanks again!

  7. Yay! So glad you liked it Sinead :-)

  8. This was my first time cooking tofu, and it turned out really well! Thanks Debbie :)

    1. Excellent! Glad it worked out for you, thanks for letting me know :-)

  9. Thank you so much for this recipe, I made it twice and my husband and his old schoolmate loved it...
    Hope I can post the pic..
    Thank you again.

    1. Glad they liked it Charisse! Thanks for the comment :-)

  10. This is an amazing recipe! Even my parents and sister, who vehemently believe that all good things have to include animal products, kept trying to take bites of it! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. That's awesome! So glad it was liked and thanks so much for the comment :-)


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