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  • Writer's pictureAmber

Chili Tofu | GF + V

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

The last couple months, it's been hard to get your favorite dishes. Either the restaurant is closed or limited access to ingredients has made regular menus difficult to maintain. More so, if you're working from home, it can take a mountain of motivation to put pants on to go pick up takeout (since $3.99 delivery is out of the question).

I was browsing through Indo-Chinese recipes online and saw the most delicious photo of Manchow soup. It reminded me of going to dinner with my husband's family in India around the time we got married. Plates of Manchurian cauliflower, Manchow soup, and chili paneer covered the table and we ate family style. The craving grew from that delicious memory.

I've found lately that most things I'm hungry for, I probably have the ingredients to cook. Cookies, soup, my mom's Tuscan chicken. They're all a lot simpler than I thought! After a bit of research, I was raiding my own pantry to whip up the easiest recipe ever.

I had some tofu in the fridge that I didn't end up needing when I bought it. This is the perfect use for it! You could use paneer or even meat (any meat cut into small pieces would work), but if you want to keep it vegan, use tofu or mixed vegetables. Broccoli, baby corn, mixed peppers, green beans, or eggplants would be delicious options.

Here's what you need:

  • 2 blocks of tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (or about 2 lbs of paneer, any vegetable, or meat)

  • 1 tbsp corn starch + 1/2 tbsp corn starch

  • 1/2 cup bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares (I used yellow bell since I had one on hand, but they're not quite as bright in the photos)

  • 8-10 green onions (scallions) chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 3 gloves of garlic, minced

  • 2 tbsp sugar (brown or white is fine)

  • 1 1/2 tbsp runny honey

  • 2 tbsp chili sauce, like sriracha or Chinese chili chutney (you can use sweet chili sauce, but add 1/2 tsp chili flake)

  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos or soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil + 2 tbsp sesame oil, divided

  1. In a small bowl, whisk 1/2 tbsp corn starch, garlic, sugar, honey, chili sauce, aminos, and 1 tbsp sesame oil. Whisk quickly to break up any corn starch. Let it hang out on the side- this will thicken.

  2. Salt the tofu and then dust it with 1 tbsp of the corn starch. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil on medium-high heat in your skillet or wok and fry the tofu until golden brown. You may have to turn them so they brown evenly on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  3. Add the final 1 tbsp of oil and turn the heat up to high. Toss the peppers and onions in the oil and continuously stir to keep them burning. They'll slightly char in some places, which is good. It should smell lovely.

  4. Turn the heat off. Add the tofu back to the pan and add the sauce. Continuously stir while it's hot so that the sugar doesn't burn.

  5. Serve with some fresh green onions. I ate it on its own, but it would be lovely with rice or stir-fried noodles.

**Note: my ultra-cute porcelain takeout containers are from World Market, but they're vintage. I purchased them secondhand and have never seen them in stores!

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