This succulent, saucy and spicy vegan Chilli Tofu is based off an Indo-Chinese recipe, and flavored with tamari, ginger, garlic, coriander and cumin, making it the perfect blend of these two distinctive cuisines. Serve with rice or lo mein or Mandarin pancakes for a tasty dinner.
I love it when I can find irony in the most unlikely places-- like my Chilli Tofu.
My Chilli Tofu is based off an Indo-Chinese recipe called Chilli Paneer. This is a spicy, saucy blend of Indian spices and Chinese condiments, and the star, of course, is the paneer, an Indian cottage cheese that's usually sold in blocks, just like tofu.
Paneer is a bland cheese that soaks up the flavors of the curries and gravies it is added to, as does tofu. They even have similar textures but the tofu, of course, is far healthier. I've posted other recipes before that use tofu instead of paneer, like my Vegan Palak "Paneer" and Tofu Makhani.
Now here's the fun part. While substitutions usually have the effect of taking a dish away from its roots, this time, as I swapped the tofu for the paneer for my Chilli Tofu recipe, I realized that the modification makes this dish even more Chinese. Get it?
So here's my recipe for Chilli Tofu in all of its modified glory-- a surefire winner that would give the original a run for the rupee any day. It's a healthy, protein-rich, low-fat dish full of flavor and zest, and it would pair perfectly with some Mandarin Pancakes or with some white rice.
Looking for more vegan Indo-Chinese recipes?
- 14 oz extra-firm tofu (swaddle the tofu block in paper towels and place in a colander for 30 minutes with a heavy weight on top, like a saucepan, to press our any water.). Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and coat with the marinade (recipe below).
- 1 large green bell pepper (sliced. You can use other colors, but I just love the flavor of green pepper in this dish)
- 1 serrano pepper (or any other moderately hot chili pepper, minced)
- 3 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 large large onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 tsp garlic (grated)
- 1 tsp ginger (grated)
- 1 tsp cornstarch (mixed into ¼ cup water)
- 1-2 tbsp tamari (can use soy sauce instead)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp cilantro (finely chopped)
For the marinade:
- 1 tsp garlic (crushed into a paste)
- 1 tsp ginger (crushed into a paste)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp tamari (can use soy sauce instead)
- Mix the marinade ingredients with enough water to make a paste. Toss the tofu cubes in it to coat.
- Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a nonstick or cast-iron pan. Saute the tofu cubes on all sides until they are golden-brown. Remove to a plate.
- Heat the remaining 1 tsp of oil and add the cumin seeds. When they sputter, add the ginger and garlic and onion.
- Saute until the onion becomes transparent. Now add the coriander powder, black pepper, and minced green chilli. Toss to coat with the spices and then add the green pepper.
- Stir-fry until the bell pepper starts to soften but still has a good bite to it. Now add the tofu cubes and toss them with the spices. Add the tamari or soy sauce and the cornflour mixed with water (this will give the tofu a nice glaze). Stir until well mixed and remove from the heat.
- Toss in the coriander and serve hot.