Go Back Email Link
Crispy thai sweet chili tofu sitting in a bowl of white rice with scallions/green onions sprinkled on top

Crispy Sweet Chili Tofu Bowls

Crispy breaded tofu glazed with a Thai sweet chili sauce and served over of rice. This rice bowl is simple yet satisfying—and takes only 35 minutes to make. Recipe includes air fryer and oven baked tofu instructions. (Vegan, Gluten Free).
Print
Prep Time 23 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Ingredients

Crispy Tofu

  • 12 oz extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free if needed)
  • Oil spray (grapeseed oil or olive oil)

Sweet Chili Sauce

  • cup granulated sugar (or cane sugar)
  • cup + 1 tablespoon cold water
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 to 1½ teaspoon Sriracha, divided
  • 1 teaspoon tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

For Serving

  • Cooked rice (such as Jasmine, for serving)
  • Thinly sliced scallions/green onions (for garnish)

Instructions

  • Marinate Tofu: Cut tofu into ¾-inch (2cm) cubes, then pat dry with a clean kitchen towel. Transfer to a shallow dish. Pour tamari and sprinkle garlic powder over tofu. Use your hands to gently toss to coat. Let marinate for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping the cubes every couple of minutes, until most—but not all—of the tamari is absorbed (see note 1).
    12 oz extra-firm tofu, 2 tablespoons tamari, ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Coat tofu: Sprinkle cornstarch over tofu, then use your hands to gently toss to coat. Continue until there is no powdery cornstarch visible. Transfer the tofu, one at a time, into the panko. Use your clean hand to press the panko into the tofu, if needed, so that the panko coats all sides.
    2 tablespoons cornstarch, ⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Air fry tofu (or bake in oven, see note 2): Arrange coated tofu in a single layer in an air fryer basket. Give the tofu a good spray of oil (this helps with browning). Bake at 400°F (200°C) in the air fryer (no need to preheat) for 10 minutes. Shake the basket, spray with oil again, then bake for 1 to 3 more minutes, or until crispy and golden brown.
    Oil spray
  • Start Sauce: While the tofu bakes, combine sugar, cup of the cold water, rice vinegar, 1 teaspoon of the Sriracha, and tamari in a skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Then, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes to let the flavors meld.
    ⅓ cup granulated sugar, ⅓ cup + [adjustable]1[/adjustable] tablespoon cold water, ¼ cup rice vinegar, 1 to 1½ teaspoon Sriracha, divided, 1 teaspoon tamari
  • Finish Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon cold water with cornstarch. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the sauce, whisking frequently. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add red pepper flakes (see note 3). Taste and add the remaining ½ teaspoon Sriracha if you'd like the sauce to be spicier.
    ⅓ cup + [adjustable]1[/adjustable] tablespoon cold water, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 to 1½ teaspoon Sriracha, divided
  • Assemble: As soon as the tofu is done baking, add it to the skillet of sauce. Gently toss to coat. Spoon rice into bowls, top with tofu, and garnish generously with scallions. Enjoy immediately (see note 4).
    Cooked rice, Thinly sliced scallions/green onions

Notes

  1. Seasoning tofu with tamari: In this step, you want the tofu to absorb most of the tamari (for flavor), but not all of it, because the small amount of unabsorbed tamari will help hydrate the cornstarch and wet the tofu enough so the panko sticks. If your tofu ended up absorbing all the tamari, add a little splash of more tamari, then continue with the next step of adding cornstarch.
  2. Alternate oven instructions: Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). When cutting the tofu, really try to make them ¾-inch (2cm) or even slightly smaller, to give them the best chance at getting crispy. Follow the recipe instructions for marinating and coating the tofu. Then, spray a baking sheet with oil. Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet, and spray the tofu generously with oil (the oven needs more oil to get similar browning). Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the cubes, spray the tops with more oil, then bake for another 5 to 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. The oven method tends to yield less even browning, so keep an eye on the tofu and remove any cubes that are done before the rest.
  3. Red pepper flakes: The red pepper flakes are mostly to provide the "look" of a typical sweet chili sauce with visible pepper—but they too add heat. If you find the sauce is already too spicy for you, feel free to leave it out or reduce as needed.
  4. Crispy sauced tofu is best enjoyed fresh: This dish is best enjoyed hot and freshly sauced. Over time, the breading will soften from the wet sauce.
  5. Nutritional estimate includes 1 cup of cooked rice per serving (3 cups total).

Nutrition

Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 960mg | Potassium: 373mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 53IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 3mg