Spicy and Sweet Tofu

BY : PUBLISHED : January 4th, 2022 UPDATED: February 2nd, 2022

If you are looking for a new and delicious way to enjoy tofu, then this Spicy and Sweet style recipe is perfect for you! Golden and crunchy on the outside, tossed with fresh bok choy, then slathered with homemade sweet and spicy glaze! A gluten-free, budget-friendly, and delicious dish perfect for lunch or dinner.

completed Spicy and Sweet Tofu in iron skillet

Homemade Spicy and Sweet Tofu

We love tofu! It is a high-protein, versatile and healthy meat alternative that can be made into almost anything! We love how a block of this simple ingredient can turn into something amazingly delicious with the right blend of seasonings. And this recipe is no exemption! Perfectly browned tofu is good enough, but coat them with a deliciously sweet, savory, and mildly spicy glaze, and you have a winner!

We love adding greens to go with the tofu to make it into a hearty dish that is perfect as it is. But, you can also serve them on top of rice when feeding a hungry crowd. It is a fuss-free and customizable recipe perfect for weekdays. If you have veggies sitting in your fridge, toss them in. Taste and tweak the sweetness or spiciness level to your liking.

Ingredients Needed

  • Extra Firm Tofu - Make sure to press and drain the fillets before using them to achieve that golden crispiness. Check out our Guide to Tofu Pressing for some helpful tips!
  • Garlic - You will be using this both for the glaze and with the bok choy prep. What is a great dish without garlic, right?
  • Ginger - Will provide that sharp peppery, and spicy taste.
  • Tamari - This gluten-free sauce will provide tons of umami goodness to the glaze. Use soy sauce as an alternative if you do not have this.
  • Brown Sugar - It not only adds sweetness but also aids in making the sauce thicker and glossier. You can use light brown sugar, agave nectar, or maple syrup as an alternative.
  • Sesame Oil - Add a nutty and flair of Asian flavor!
  • Water - For boiling.
  • Bok Choy - This veggie goes really well with the tofu and glaze. However, feel free to sub with other leafy greens like kale, collard greens, spinach, arugula, and cabbage. If you're a big fan of Bok Choy, you'll love this Baby Bok Choy with Soy Sauce and Garlic.
  • Canola or Vegetable oil - Any neutral-flavored oil will work fine.

ingredients for Spicy and Sweet Tofu against white background

How to make the Spicy and Sweet Tofu

Preparations:

  • Press and drain the tofu, then slice into fillets.
  • Wash bok choy thoroughly, especially near the stems. Slice in halves or quarters.

Steps:

1) Make the glaze.  Add half of the minced garlic, ginger, tamari, brown sugar, and the sesame oil in a bowl and mix it together.

process of mixing garlic and tamari sauce in white bowl with wooden spoon

2) Cook Bok Choy. Boil them in water and the rest of the minced garlic until the leaves become a bit wilted.

process of adding greens to black pan against white background

3) Brown the Tofu. Fry the tofu for about 3 minutes on each side.

ingredients for Spicy and Sweet Tofu against white background process of browning tofu fillets in black pan

4) Add the glaze. Pour the sauce mixture and coat the tofu with it.  Cook until the sauce thickens.

5) Toss the Bok Choy. Finally, add the bok choy and toss everything together.  Make sure the tofu and veggies are coated very well. Cook for about 2 more minutes before serving.

process of adding veggies to Spicy and Sweet Tofu in skillet completed Spicy and Sweet Tofu in iron skillet

Helpful Tips when Making Sweet and Spicy Tofu

  • When frying the tofu, let them sizzle undisturbed for a few minutes before flipping them. If you move them around too much, there is a possibility that they will break into pieces.
  • Do not boil the bok choy too much, just enough for the leaves to soften a bit. This dish is much more enjoyable with some crunch from the stems.
  • The fresh garlic gives the dish a zesty taste. If you want it to be spicier, you can add chili powder, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, or sriracha.
  • You can make this recipe without the greens; it will still be delicious. But if you are a veggie-lover, you can even add more like broccoli, baby corn, edamame, and snap peas.
  • You can sprinkle sesame seeds or finely chopped green onions for garnishing to make it more presentable too.

Storing Notes

This Spicy and Sweet Tofu is best enjoyed hot from the pan or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.  Leftovers can be eaten cold or reheated in a skillet or microwave as needed. If the tofu appears to be drying out, add a splash of water while reheating.

completed close up of Spicy and Sweet Tofu in iron skillet

Frequently Asked Questions for Spicy and Sweet Tofu

  1. Can I substitute firm tofu for extra firm tofu? This recipe calls for extra firm tofu, which has less water content, making it great for pan-fry recipes. If you cannot find one, at least use regular or firm tofu.
  2. Why do we need to press and drain the tofu before cooking?  Tofu contains a lot of water; therefore, it's essential to squeeze and drain it. By pressing out all of the water, you can get rid of any excess moisture. When tofu is too wet, it will break up while cooking, which is not what you want.
  3. Is it better to bake or pan-fry tofu? To make a batch of amazingly crispy tofu slices, pan-frying is the simplest and least time-consuming method. But if you have the time, go ahead and bake it! Preheat the oven to 200°C and bake the tofu for 15 minutes or golden brown.

More Healthy Tofu Recipes for you!

  1. Shiitake Asparagus Tofu Stir-fry - When you need something quick and easy, this will be your new go-to recipe that is both savory and filling.  This tofu and veggies combo will fill you up without leaving you feeling sluggish.
  2. Tofu with Peanut Sauce - This is a recipe that you must try. It's creamy, rich, and filling, plus it's high in plant-based protein. It can be served as a simple appetizer or with rice or noodles. Very adaptable!
  3. Pineapple Glazed Tofu - It's our vegan take on a Pineapple Glazed Ham, and your guests will love it! The juices of the pineapple and the sweetness of the sugar caramelize and create a super delicious crust.

completed Spicy and Sweet Tofu in iron skillet

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed Spicy and Sweet Tofu in iron skillet

Spicy and Sweet Tofu

Jake
If you are looking for a new and delicious way to enjoy tofu, then this Spicy and Sweet style recipe is perfect for you!
4.98 from 41 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Asian
Servings 3 servings
Calories 204 kcal
METHOD Stovetop
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cloves garlic minced, divided
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup of tamari
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • Splash of water
  • 2 bunches of bok choy or other greens, halved or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu 16-ounce, sliced into filets

Instructions
 

  • Put 2 cloves of minced garlic, ginger, tamari, brown sugar, and the sesame oil in a bowl and mix it together.
  • In a pan, add a splash of water, the bok choy, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook until the leaves begin to wilt, about 4 minutes.
  • In a separate pan, heat the canola oil and brown the tofu, about 3 minutes on each side.
  • Pour the mixture on top, coating the tofu, and cook until it thickens, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the bok choy and gently mix it together. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Notes

Golden and crunchy on the outside, tossed with fresh bok choy, then slathered with homemade sweet and spicy glaze! A gluten-free, budget-friendly, and delicious dish perfect for lunch or dinner.

Nutrition

Calories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 21gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 1529mgPotassium: 1687mgFiber: 6gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 25021IUVitamin C: 253mgCalcium: 644mgIron: 7mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Jake

Jake switched to a plant based diet in 1996 and quickly realized he had no idea how to cook. All these years later and he's still trying to figure it out...

View all posts by Jake

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Teodora Grujic says

    Not fan of a tofu, buy this spicy and sweet combo sounds very interesting. I will try it deffinetely!

  2. Gina House says

    This sweet and spicy glaze looks incredible!

    • Andrea White says

      I love a good glaze and this one is incredible!!

  3. Jay says

    Yummy this looks so good! I have been impressed with all the tofu recipes from the blog!

  4. Brianna @ The Casual Travelist says

    Perfect dinner for meatless Monday! The crispy tofu and your glaze together are just divine!.

    • Andrea White says

      Yay! So glad you enjoyed it!

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