Start with a baked crispy tofu and toss it in a delicious sauce with fresh bell peppers and onions. Honey Sweet Chili Tofu is a robust and satisfying vegetarian main!
It’s hard to determine which element of this dish is the star. The texture and flavour of that oven-baked tofu is amazing! But, the Sweet Heat Chili Sauce is working hard to steal the spotlight. Of course, the freshness of those crisp vegetables want all of the glory too. Alas, they all work together very cohesively to create a delicious meal!
LET’S TALK TOFU
We all love tofu in our home. I’m the only one who tends to pay more attention to the texture of tofu, however. Both John.e and McKenna tend to lean more towards a softer/silken tofu. I, on the other hand, prefer a firmer tofu.
Firm tofu is easy to find in just about any store. However, even the firmest tofu will still have a lot of water content. I’m going to tell you how to get that water content out without buying another kitchen gadget. If you have paper towels, a cutting board, and some heavy cans or bottles, that’s all you need.
Most firm tofu is sold in blocks that are roughly one and a half to two inches thick. Slice the tofu so that it is half that thick. Lay each slice on a few sheets of paper towel. Top each slice with a few more sheets of paper towel and place a cutting board right on top of that. Be sure the cutting board covers all of the tofu. Next, you’ll want to place something heavy on the cutting board. You can use large cans of tomatoes or beans. Or, do what I do. I fill a pot with water and set it right on top.
In essence, you’re trying to get as much moisture out of the tofu without breaking it apart. The more moisture you can extract, the firmer your tofu will be. Let the tofu sit for 20 minutes or so to drain. Easy right?
GIMME THAT SAUCE!
You can buy a jar of sweet chili sauce, or you can make it at home in 15 minutes and at a fraction of the cost? I bet you already have all of the ingredients on hand too!
Other than the taste, there are two other reasons to make your own sauce. First, I can guarantee that you’ll have at least 90% of the ingredients in your pantry or fridge already. I’m going to make the assumption that you like to cook, otherwise, you might not be reading a food blog. If you like to cook, no doubt you’ll have a well stocked pantry and fridge.
The second thing is that this recipe takes literally 15 minutes from start to finish. You’ll end up with two cups of sauce, which is more than what you’ll get in most bottles from the store. And you can keep the sauce in the fridge for weeks at a time.
I may have given you more than two or three reasons why this homemade version of the sauce is better than store-bought. It seems I never know when to stop arguing my point!
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Once your tofu is done, and your sauce is prepared, the rest of the recipe is a breeze! Toss the veggies into a hot skillet with some olive oil. Be sure to season the veggies with a bit of salt and pepper. You don’t need to cook the veggies too long. Just heat them though, but keep them bright in colour and crisp in texture.
Now, pour in the sauce and stir into the veggies. Once the sauce is thick, add the prepared tofu and toss to coat. Just heat the tofu through and add the sesame seeds.
Once it’s all hot and spicy and sticky, plate it up and garnish. Honey Sweet Chili Tofu is not only for vegetarians. I know many meat eaters who would love to devour this. I’m one of them! But, I can never say no to that sauce!!!
Honey Sweet Chili Tofu
For the Tofu:
- 28 ounces extra firm tofu (2 blocks)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Sauce:
- 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 large onion, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 large green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Tofu:
- Slice each block of tofu into two even slabs so that they are just less than one inch thick.
- Lay a few sheets of paper towel onto a flat surface. Set the sliced tofu on the paper towels. Top with more paper towel. Cover the tofu with a cutting board, ensuring that the cutting board covers all tofu slices.
- Set heavy cans or jars on top of the cutting board and allow the weight to push out the excess moisture. Leave for 20 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together the cornstarch, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Once the tofu has been pressed, remove the weights and cut the tofu into 3/4 inch cubes.
- Gently toss the tofu pieces with the olive oil until well coated. Next, sprinkle over the cornstarch mixture and toss gently to coat.
- Lay the tofu onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Do not overlap the tofu pieces.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, turn tofu pieces over, and bake for 15 minutes more.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
For the Sauce:
- Whisk together the sweet chili sauce, honey, soy sauce, and water. Set aside.
- In a large, deep skillet, over high heat, saute the onions, peppers, salt, and pepper for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the prepared sauce and stir to combine. Cook the sauce for 3-5 minutes until thickened.
- Next, add the tofu. Toss to combine and re-heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Lastly, add the green onions and sesame seeds. Toss to combine. Turn off heat and serve immediately.