I’m not being hyperbolic when I tell you that this is the best tofu I have ever made, and quite possibly the best tofu I have ever had. Truly. Crunchy, sweet, sticky, spicy, rich, herbaceous, tangy, savory… It literally has it all!
- Extra firm tofu – It may seem like the star of the dish is the sauce, but it’s the tofu. Perfectly fried and crispy, It’s delicate flavor allows the others to shine. You can use extra firm or just regular firm, but don’t go any softer than that. Tofu is the dish, and you want it to have the body to stand up to a the thick and sticky sauce
- Garlic – Garlic gives a pungent pop to the sauce. It’s not a top note, but you’d miss it if it was gone.
- Cilantro, green onions, green chiles – Yeah, I know that I said that tofu was the star, but without these green things, this dish, in my opinion, is one-note. Chop-up a bunch, and put too much on. Cover every stick of tofu with all the green it can handle. …Because it can handle it.
- Rice flour or cornstarch – When frying, starches give a crispier crust than AP flour. Rice gives me the crunch I’m looking for, but it’s not in everyone’s cupboards all the time. Cornstarch would be a close second since it’s the starch of choice for many of your favorite fried Asian dishes. AP will work in a pinch, but it won’t be the same.
- Vegan sugar – Look for organic or “bone char free” sugar. I use an organic granulated sugar for pretty much anything I need to sweeten. Agave or maple syrups might work in this dish, but I haven’t tried. Go for the granulated sugar, and you’re guaranteed to get the stickiness you want.
- Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce – I haven’t had “soy sauce” in my pantry for years and years. Bragg’s is my go-to, and if you ever see “Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce” in one of my recipes, know that it was created and tested using Bragg’s.
- Sambal or chili sauce – I love heat. Sambal is my favorite chili sauce. Sometimes I get the garlic one, but normally I just get the traditional with the green lid and the gold label. For all y’all who thought sriracha was the best chili sauce, think again.
- Red chili flake – Hardly a dish is made in my kitchen without at least a pinch of chili flake. It goes on/in everything from pizza to, well, tofu. This is the source of much of the heat in this sauce, so if you’re afraid of heat, this is what you need to watch.
- Toasted sesame seeds – Make sure they’re toasted. Untoasted is just a missed opportunity.
- Toasted sesame sesame oil – I’m slightly obsessed with sesame oil right now. Pretty much any Asian inspired dish I cook starts with this oil. I used to only use it as a seasoning, but lately I’ve been cooking with it; starting to add that depth of flavor at the very beginning.
- Balsamic vinegar – This is kind of a wildcard ingredient, but I promise that it adds a lift to this sauce that can only come from a hit of acid. You could probably get away with using a splash of any other vinegar, but balsamic both shines and hides nicely in this sauce.
Normally, I have a lot to say before I reveal the goods, but today, because I’m so excited for y’all to try this, I’m just going to keep my mouth shut.
These Sticky Spicy Tofu “Wings” are insane and you MUST make them for yourself. Watch how easy they are to make in the video below, and then scroll down for the full, printable recipe.
Sticky Spicy Tofu
The best tofu dish I have ever had. Crunchy, sweet, sticky, spicy, rich, herbaceous, tangy, savry… It literally has it all!
- 1 package (14 oz) extra firm or firm tofu
- ¼ cup rice flour or cornstarch
- ¼ cup (52 g) vegan sugar
- ¼ cup (2 ml) Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) sambal or chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon red chili flake, or to taste
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic. finely minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) toasted sesame sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 Red or green chile, such as jalapeno or Anaheim, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- chongqing powder*
Drain the tofu, and place it on your cutting board so that the narrowest and longest rectangular side is facing up. Slice down through the center lengthwise, so that you have two very long and narrow rectangles facing you. Slice the tofu in the opposite direction 6 to 8 times until you have created 14 to 18 long, thin, tofu pieces.
Lay the tofu pieces out onto a towel in a single layer, and then cover with another towel. Allow the towels to absorb the water from the tofu for about an hour.
Preheat your frying oil to 375 degrees F.
Pour the rice flour or cornstarch onto a plate. Dredge each piece of tofu in the flour, making sure to cover all sides. Let the floured tofu rest for about 5 minutes, or until your oil is heated.
Working in at least 2 batches, depending on the size of your fryer, fry the tofu until crispy and just golden. Place fried tofu onto a cooling rack or a paper towel lined plate.
Combine all sauce ingredients except for the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to medium heat, stirring continuously. Continue to stir as the mixture begins to boil. Allow it to bubble, stirring it constantly, until it has reduced and caramelized. It’s done when it coats your spoon, and leaves a part when you scrape the bottom of the pan. Turn off the heat and stir in balsamic vinegar.
Add your cooked tofu, and work quickly to coat them all evenly in the sauce.
Stack the Sticky Spicy Tofu onto a plate, and generously top with cilantro, green onion, chiles, and sesame seeds.
I am obsessed with this Sichuan spice blend that Danny Bowien uses on his wings at Mission Chinese. Here’s a link to the recipe.