This Asian-style Crispy Bang Bang Tofu in spicy marinade sauce is a quick and easy recipe to make a delicious restaurant-style lunch or dinner from simple ingredients! It is a versatile dish – you can make the crunchy tofu in the oven or air fryer and serve with rice, veggies or other side dishes!
Crispy Bang Bang Tofu in Asian Marinade Sauce
There are so many ways to make tofu tasty – you just have to know how to prepare it properly. Tofu is very plain and flavorless by itself, but it absorbs flavors and aromas of marinades and sauces so well that you can prepare and serve it in many ways!
That is why it is one of my favorite ingredients to cook! I habe already made vegan versions of Salmon Fillets, Japanese Katsu, or Baked Nuggets using it and still capture the flavors of the original recipes. This Asian-style Crispy Tofu in sweet and spicy sauce has the perfect amount of heat and savory goodness to boost anyone’s appetite for lunch or dinner! It’s perfect served on top of rice and a side of veggies.
For the Crispy Tofu
- Tofu: you have to use firm or extra firm tofu to make this recipe work. They are sturdy enough to stay compact as you toss them in the spicy marinade.
- Cornstarch: mixed with water – this will make the breadcrumbs stick easier and add another level of crunchiness to the tofu slices.
- Panko breadcrumbs: for a light yet crisp coating, You can also use other gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Sesame: I use white and black sesame seeds, but you can use just one kind.
For the spicy marinade sauce
- Sriracha sauce: this will give the marinade the perfect amount of spiciness. You can add more if you prefer your dish to have more spice.
- Maple syrup: the earthy sweetness is the perfect balance to the heat from the sriracha. You can use other sweeteners like sugar or agave too.
- Tamari: provides a nice savory and umami flavor. You can also use soy sauce (not gluten-free) as a substitute.
- Rice vinegar: adds a touch of tanginess that makes the sauce tastes brighter and lighter. If you do not have this, you can use apple cider or white vinegar.
- Garlic: for the best aroma and flavour. If you don’t have fresh garlic cloves you can also use garlic powder.
- Ginger: if you don’t like this, you can omit it.
- Sesame oil: nothing like the flavor of sesame to give that distinct Asian taste! However, you can also use peanut oil or any other vegetable oil.
To serve (optional)
- Rice: fluffy rice like basmati or jasmine are perfect for the crunchy and spicy tofu cuts.
- Vegetables: you can select any to go with the dish. Pak Choi, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, cucumber, and bean sprouts are great options.
- To Garnish: white and black sesame seeds, scallions, cilantro or parsley and toasted peanuts.
How to make Crispy Spicy Tofu
As always, I recommend checking out these step-by-step instructions and the recipe video first. Then you’ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Bake Tofu until crispy
First, press the tofu block dry as best as you can and cut into slices or cubes. In a shallow bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water. Put the panko breadcrumbs on a small deep plate.
Dip the tofu slices first in the cornstarch mixture and then roll them in the breadcrumbs. Spray the breaded tofu slices with a little oil (cooking spray) and place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or air fryer basket). Bake in a preheated oven at 400 F fan-force for about 25 minutes (or in an hot air fryer for about 15 minutes) until golden brown and crispy, flipping halfway through
Note: The baking time may vary depending on the thickness of the tofu slices.
Step 2: Make the sauce
Meanwhile, you can prep the side dishes and make the sauce. Heat the sesame oil in a pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the garlic and ginger for a minute. Then add the rest of the ingredients for the marinade and simmer briefly. Stir in water as needed to create a thick sauce mixture.
Step 3: Toss Tofu in the sauce
Toss the crispy baked bang bang tofu in the sauce until well coated. Then serve immediately over steamed rice and vegetables and garnish with sesame seeds, scallions, cilantro and peanuts as desired. Enjoy!
Crispy Tofu Recipe Variations
- To make Korean-style spicy tofu, use gochujang instead of sriracha. You can also try using doubanjiang, a fermented chili bean paste used in Chinese cooking.
- Feel free to add more ingredients to the sauce like onions, onion powder, miso paste, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper.
- If you want to make a soy-free version of this dish, you can also use a plain seitan steak.
- Cut the tofu into bite-sized squares or triangles like I did in my Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad.
Serve the marinated crispy Tofu with ramen or rice noodles or over low-carb cauliflower rice instead of regular rice. You can also make a delicious stir-fry with your favorite veggies such as shiitake or other mushrooms, broccoli, sugar snap peas, mung bean sprouts, zucchini, red peppers, spinach or whatever you can find in your fridge! You can also put the spicy tofu on bread, buns or tortillas to make Asian inspired sandwiches, burgers or wraps!
Tips when Making Crispy Tofu in a Spicy Sauce
- Press the tofu very dry to get rid of excess liquid. The drier it is, the better the texture and the crispier it will be. You can either use a tofu press, or you can wrap the tofu in paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Then place a heavy skillet or a couple of books on top and set aside for a few minutes until the moisture seeps out.
- Slice the tofu into equal thickness to make sure the pieces bake evenly.
- Be gentle when tossing the crunchy tofu pieces in the spicy sauce to ensure they do not break apart.
- If you want to make a bang bang tofu sauce, you can simply stir in some vegan mayonnaise to create a creamy sauce.
These spicy tofu bites are best served right away to enjoy the crunchiness of the breading. The longer they sit in the sauce, the soggier the breading becomes. If you are making this recipe ahead, coat the crispy tofu with the sauce right before serving for the best results. Leftovers should be stored in a lidded container and placed in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then reheat in the pan, microwave or oven.
This Spicy Tofu recipe is:
- Vegan, Vegetarian
- Can be made gluten-free
- Easy to make
- Crispy and juicy
- Perfect as a side dish or main corse for lunch or dinner!
More popular Asian Recipes to try
- Vegan dumplings (Gyoza/ Potstickers)
- Vegan Pad Thai with Veggie Noodles
- Thai Peanut Ramen Noodle Soup
- General Tso’s Tofu with Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Scallion Pancakes
- Crispy Sesame Tofu with Tahini Sauce
- Asian Chili Garlic Noodles
- Crispy Vegan Spring Rolls
- Chinese Eggplants in Chili Garlic Sauce
- Vegan Bibimbap
- Tom Yum Soup
- Asian Cabbage Rolls
- Sweet and Sour Veggies with Chickpeas
If you try this Asian-style crispy tofu recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you share a photo of your delicious dish on Instagram or Facebook , please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy cooking! 🙂
Crispy Tofu Asian-Style in Spicy SauceAuthor:
- 4 oz (200 g) firm tofu
For the batter
- ¾ cup (80 g) cornstarch
- ½ cup (120 ml) water
- 1 cup (60 g) panko breadcrumbs or other (gluten-free) breadcrumbs
*Note: Check out the recipe video and step-by-step pictures in the blog post above for visual instructions!
- First, press the tofu dry as best as you can and cut into slices or cubes.
- In a shallow bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water. Put the panko breadcrumbs on a small deep plate.
- Dip the tofu slices first in the cornstarch mixture and then roll them in the breadcrumbs.
- Spray the breaded tofu slices with a little oil (cooking spray) and bake in a preheated oven at 400 °F for about 25 minutes or in an hot air fryer for about 15 minutes until golden brown and crispy, flipping halfway through (the baking time may vary depending on the thickness of the tofu slices).
- Meanwhile, prepare your desired side dishes (e. g. rice, sautéed veggies) and make the marinade. For the marinade, heat the sesame oil in a pan and sauté the garlic and ginger for a minute. Then add the rest of the ingredients for the marinade and cook briefly. Stir in water as needed to create a thick sauce.
- Toss the crispy baked tofu in the sauce until well coated. Then serve immediately on steamed rice and vegetables and garnish with sesame seeds, scallions, cilantro and peanuts as desired.
- The spicy tofu can be served in various ways! Some serving suggestions are mentioned in the blog post above!
- To make Korean-style spicy tofu, use gochujang instead of sriracha.
- If you want to make a bang bang sauce, stir some vegan mayonnaise into the marinade to create a creamy sauce.
- The nutritional values refer to 1 serving of tofu in sauce without rice and vegetables.
- More helpful tips and information on the recipe, including storing notes, are mentioned in the blog post above!
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