The first time I had tofu, I was in a little off-the-beaten-path restaurant in Queens, NY. I just loved how crispy the outside of the tofu was, yet the inside was succulent, like a soft, juicy meat. I created this recipe with those textures in mind, plus I threw in some heat to spice things up a bit. The coconut milk works great if you have this over rice because the rice soaks up all the flavor and becomes like rice pudding - but with a savory goodness that perfectly compliments the tofu. —Christy Boston's Kitchen
14 hours 45 minutes
organic firm tofu
juice from a jar of pickled jalapeños
unseasoned rice vinegar
chipotle pepper in adobo seasoning
liquid stevia extract
yellow curry powder
organic powdered stevia
organic sesame oil, plus more as needed
unsweetened organic coconut milk, full fat
The night before: Drain the tofu by placing it on a small sheet pan lined with several paper towels. Cover the tofu with another several layers of paper towels then place something flat and heavy on top, like a cast iron skillet or a plate weighted down with something heavy. Refrigerate overnight.
The morning of: Remove the tofu from the sheet pan and discard the liquid. To make the marinade, whisk together the soy sauce, jalapeño juice, rice vinegar, chipotle pepper in adobo seasoning, lemon juice and liquid stevia in a measuring cup. Cut the drained tofu into 3/4 inch cubes and place them on a plate in a single layer. Pour the marinade over, then gently toss the tofu to coat. Be very careful not to break the tofu as it is very fragile when raw! Once coated, seat each tofu cube into the marinade remaining on the plate in a single layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours.
Twenty minutes before it is time to eat, sift together the cornstarch, curry powder, stevia powder, and salt in a shallow bowl. Carefully toss the tofu in the cornstarch mixture until each piece is coated. (Most, if not all, of the cornstarch mixture will be picked up quickly by the moist tofu, so you will need to work fast while being careful not to break the tofu.) Set aside.
Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure the skillet is searing hot before you add the tofu! Once the oil begins to smoke, add the tofu squares to the skillet in a single layer. Allow them to sear for about a minute on each side. To turn the tofu, use kitchen tongs or two spoons, but be careful not to crush the tofu. Keep turning until all sides of each square are light golden brown and crispy, but not burned. Add more sesame oil a teaspoon at at time to keep the skillet from drying out. This whole process will take 6-8 minutes, but you will need to constantly be turning the squares during this time. Once all sides of each square are browned, transfer the tofu to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and add the coconut milk (including the fat) to the hot skillet. (It is important to whisk the fat into the milk before adding it to the skillet because this is what makes the sauce so creamy!) Whisk the milk in the skillet to keep it from boiling over, then whisk in the Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes. Simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces by half, about 5 minutes.
To serve, spoon the coconut milk over raw spinach, steamed wakami, steamed basmati rice, or any combination of these three. Top with the tofu and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and a pinch of red pepper flakes.