Crispy Tofu with Garlic Rice and Pak Choi
Hopefully, you can convince even the last tofu critic with this crispy tofu dish. But honestly: who doesn’t love eating crispy things, right?! Plus, it probably doesn't get a lot crunchier than the tofu in this recipe. Moreover, this meal combines many different consistencies, which we love. In addition to tofu, fluffy garlic rice, soft and crispy pak choi (we explain how this works further down), and a creamy peanut sauce end up on the plate.
First, we toss the tofu in cornstarch and sesame seeds, then fry it in lots of vegan butter. This way, it becomes crunchy on the outside but stays nice and soft on the inside. The pak choi is marinated first and then baked so the top leaves become crunchy like potato chips while the bottom part is still tender.
There's probably not only one proper way to cook rice. Therefore, feel free to prepare it however you like. In my version, vegan butter is melted in a pot, then the rice gets tossed in. Next, it’s deglazed with water and cooked until done. If you cook the rice directly in water, you can simply stir in vegan butter at the end when the rice is done. In my opinion, you shouldn’t omit the butter, though, because it leads to a very nice, creamy-buttery flavor.
For this recipe, we used oat butter from The vegan Cow which we love! It has a creamy texture, tastes great, and is a wonderful substitute for conventional butter for the purpose of frying and cooking (or spreading it on bread, of course). Using oats, The vegan Cow relies on a domestic raw material. In addition, only oats that were grown ecologically and sustainably are processed. As a result, the products are 100% certified organic and vegan, without palm oil, gluten-free, and packaged in paper. Wow! If you love butter, this may be your favorite new product of 2022 .
Crispy Tofu with Garlic Rice and Pak Choi
For the tofu:
- 400 g (14 oz) natural tofu
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 8 tbsp sesame seeds (black and white)
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (e.g. from The vegan Cow)
For the garlic rice:
- 300 g (1.66 cup) long grain rice
- 600 ml (2.5 cups) water
- 1 garlic head
- 1 tbsp vegan butter (e.g. from The vegan Cow)
For the sauce:
- 5 g (0.25 oz) ginger
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 small onion
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 0.5 lime (juice)
- 150 ml (0.66 cup) water
- 3 tbsp peanut butter
- vegetable oil for frying
- 500 g (1 lb) pak choi
- 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp chili flakes
Add cornstarch to a bowl or sealable container. Tear the tofu into bite-sized pieces, pat dry with paper towels, and add to the bowl as well. Mix with the starch until it's completely coated. If you use a container, seal it and shake it well. Next, add the sesame seeds and salt and mix well again, so the seeds stick to the tofu. If they don't stick, wet your hands and press the sesame seeds on the tofu, then set it aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F (upper-lower heat). Wash the pak choi, cut half lengthwise, and place it on a baking sheet. Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, chili flakes, and pepper in a bowl and pour the mixture over the pak choi (or dip it in the marinade). Additionally, add the garlic head for the rice to the baking sheet and bake both for about 30 minutes.
Melt vegan butter in a saucepan. Add rice and mix well. Then deglaze with water, add salt and let the rice simmer over medium-low heat until it’s done.
Peel and finely chop the ginger, garlic, and onion. Next, heat oil in a saucepan and sauté ginger, garlic, and onion. Deglaze with soy sauce. Then add lime juice, water, and peanut butter. Mix all ingredients well and let the sauce simmer over medium-low heat. If the sauce becomes too thick, just add some more water.
Heat vegan butter in a large frying pan and fry the tofu until it’s crispy and brown on all sides. Keep turning it to make sure it doesn't burn.
Remove the garlic bulb from the oven and squeeze each individual clove out of its skin. Once the garlic has been baked, this should be easy. Transfer the cloves to a small bowl and mash with a fork. Then add the crushed cloves to the cooked rice.
Serve the garlic rice with crispy fried sesame tofu pieces, pak choi, and peanut sauce.