This spicy chipotle tofu is crispy, easy and most importantly tasty! The chipotle sauce is both sweet and spicy and perfectly coats the tofu. It makes a great topping for rice or veggies as a weeknight dinner.
I’ve always been spooked to make tofu.
It’s not that I haven’t eaten plenty of delicious tofu in my time. Back when I worked in New Jersey I literally stalked a vegan food truck for their INSANELY delicious tofu sandwich. It made my day every time I saw that truck roll around!
I was spooked though because I didn’t know how to recreate that crispy outside and perfectly creamy inside.
How to make perfectly crispy tofu
If you haven’t eaten a lot of tofu in your time, it’s pretty much a super absorbent, soy based blank canvas that soaks up any flavor you toss it in.
Tim doesn’t eat a ton of tofu so when he tried this version and liked it I felt pretty proud : )
So if you’re new to cooking (and eating) tofu there’s a secret to keep it from being soggy.
Want to know what the secret is?!
Pressing out the excess liquid.
You can buy a fancy tofu press contraption.
Or you can rig your own homespun version with a kitchen towel and a couple of cans of tomato sauce. Scroll down to the recipe to find out how to do it : )
Pressing out the liquid keeps the tofu from steaming when you cook it, making it nice and crispy.
Making the spicy chipotle sauce
Once you’ve fried up your tofu, you can munch on them as is, like nuggets.
And they’re super snackable that way.
But coat them in the sauce and you’ve got spicy chipotle tofu deliciousness!
The sauce is made in about 30 seconds in a mason jar. It’s spicy from the chipotles in adobo but also sweet from maple syrup and coconut aminos.
It’s also super versatile! You can use the spicy chipotle sauce as:
- Marinade for pork or steak
- Sauce for grilled or broiled shrimp (use it similarly to the sauce in this Easy Sheet Pan Lemon Harissa Baked Shrimp)
Make it a chipotle tofu bowl!
If you want to turn this chipotle tofu into a weeknight dinner, grab a bowl and pile on the toppings.
Brown rice serves as a great healthy base for your chipotle tofu bowl. Once the crispy tofu is paired with the rice, you can get creative with the toppings.
Some toppings to try, that go great with chipotle are:
- Grilled corn
- Shredded cabbage
- Shredded carrots
- Sliced red onion
- Bell pepper slices
- 14 oz firm tofu
- 1/8 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 cup sunflower oil or another light oil
- 1 tbs chipotles in adobo, pureed
- 3 tbs coconut aminos You can use low sodium soy sauce mixed with 1 tsp of maple syrup instead
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Slice the block of tofu in half lengthwise so that you end up with two pieces the original size just less deep. Place a clean dishtowel on a cutting board and lay the tofu halves on the towel next to each other. Wrap the towel around the tofu like a present. Place another cutting board or a cookie sheet on top of the wrapped tofu. Place 2 large cans (I use two 8 oz cans of tomato sauce) on top of the cutting board/cookie sheet. Let the tofu sit for 15-20 minutes. Tip: This process will dry out the excess moisture and keep the tofu crispy.
- Unwrap the tofu and pat it dry with a paper towel. Cut each tofu half into 16-18 pieces.
- Toss the cubes of tofu in salt, pepper and all of the cornstarch.
- Heat a wok or skillet on medium-high heat. Add the oil to the heated pan. Place the tofu in the pan in an even layer; be sure not to overcrowd the pan because it will steam the tofu instead of frying it. Tip: Depending on the size of your pan you might need to fry the tofu in 2 batches.
- Cook each piece of tofu 2-4 minutes per side until golden brown. It's easier to flip the pieces one at a time with tongs or a fork. Tip: If the tofu is sticking or resisting when you try to flip it, it's not ready; it should flip easily if it has crisped up enough.
- Place the cooked tofu pieces on a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add all of the chipotle sauce ingredients to a jar and shake vigorously for 30 seconds until combined. Toss the hot tofu in the sauce until each piece is coated. Enjoy!
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see how it turned out! Snap a picture and tag @brightrootskitchen or use #brightrootskitchen on Insta.