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 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 large large onion (thinly sliced)
- 1 teaspoon garlic (grated)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (mixed into ¼ cup water)
- 1-2 tablespoon tamari (can use soy sauce instead)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoon cilantro (finely chopped)
For the marinade:
- 1 teaspoon garlic (crushed into a paste)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (crushed into a paste)
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon 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 teaspoon 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 teaspoon 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.
I tried this recipe. It came out well...
But I used dark soy sauce, coriander powder and pepper powder as the amount mentioned. It tasted like it was more of spices...
So the coriander powder and pepper powder, do we need to use the 1 tbsp coriander seed and grind it? Similarly is it fine to use 1 tsp pepper seed and grind it?
And how much dark soy sauce is to be used?
Hi Meera, always feel free to reduce the spices to suit your tastebuds, and the same goes for the condiments like soy sauce. Start out by adding a little, taste, and add more if needed. J definitely like tons of coriander and pepper in this.
Glad you tried this!
Thanks for this! I came across it while looking for an Indo-Chinese tofu recipe. I made it low FODMAP by replacing the green bell pepper with red and the onion and garlic with chives and asafoetida (hing), and it still tasted great!
Maria, those sound like great and creative variations. So glad you tried the recipe-- and liked it. 🙂
I wonder when did u add salt to it.. sorry if I missed it
Wonderful indian-style tofu recipe. This one's going to my journal. I added a little more minced chilli and some lemon juice and it was PERFECT! Thank you 🙂
Amazing recipe!! Could I ask how you got your dish to be so colourful (red!)? Mine came out to be brownish (which I think is due to soy sauce). Did you add any food colouring to get that? Thanks. 🙂
No, no food coloring here. It might just be the browning of the tofu.
Wow! Amazing! 😀
Thanks for the deliciuos recipes. Makes being a vegan so easy.
I made this a couple of nights ago and it was delicious. After marinating, it's quick and easy too. I bounced it back from Chinese to Indian by having it with a dollop of mango chutney - very nice!
Rebecca @ Happy Vegan Journey
So happy you're back! xox
🙂 i couldnt help but smile at the thought of Taking Chilli panneer from indo chinese and making it chinese by replacing it with Tofu. lovely recipe
This looks soooo good, am going to try it tonight! Thanks, Vaishali!
Spice up the Curry
chili tofu looks delicious... awesome photos
Mouthwatering here, wat a terrific and super tempting dish..
Chilli tofu looks so good.
Wow! That looks SO delicious! Your Poppy looks very beautiful.
This looks fantastic and sounds so delicious, I'll have to try it out soon. I made your palak "paneer" recipe for a family curry night recently and everyone loved it.
Sending more love and hugs to Lucy, you and Desi. I'm thinking of all of you everyday. xx
Man, your poppy is something to die for. What a brilliant hue! Lots of love to Lucy, praying for her.
I know what is for dinner tonight. Can you clarify how long the Tofu should be marinated? Thanks
Glad you asked that-- I forgot to add it. I actually didn't let the tofu stand in the marinade this time because I was running short, but if you have the time let it stand for at least 30 minutes to even several hours.
I am gonna try this over the weekend.
Ah, block of tofu and a green pepper in the fridge, and a hungry Mrs Spud on the train home, sounds like a winning combination for tonight :o)