Tag Archives: crispy baked tofu

Bangkok Curry Noodle Bowls with Crisp Baked Tofu

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (11 of 11)

Some things I’ve enjoyed about the past few weeks: The stretches of days where we’ve had sunshine and weather warm enough to trick you into thinking Spring’s closer than it is. Slow walks through downtown, mostly to the grocery store. Our two old dogs, who are nearing the end of their days, following me around throughout the day then laying right under my feet later as I try to prepare dinner. Stretching homemade pizza dough into very OCD pizza rounds. Unintentional lazy weekend days (Sundays, after long sports-filled Saturdays). Not bothering to brush my every-growing-ridiculously-long hair for days at a time (messy buns to the rescue!). The rain we’ve suddenly been getting, with the threat of more rain and potential snow this weekend… Bowls of noodles.

Bowls of noodles of any sort are my go-to comfort food. Mac and cheese, ramen/saimin, cold udon or soba noodles… The following recipe is soup-like, but heavy on the noodle-to-soup ratio. The sauce is creamy, delicious, not overly spicy, but super flavorful. If you want things a little spicier, you can certainly add your desired amount of chili-garlic sauce!

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Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Baked Tofu

Serves 8-10 people.


For the Tofu:
15.5 ounces extra firm tofu
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp gochujang (I prefer Mother in Law’s 00 Fermented Chili Paste)

For the Coconut Curry Sauce:
2 tablespoon oil
3 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
4 tablespoons red curry paste
2 14-ounce cans regular coconut milk
1 cup No-Chicken (or vegetable broth)
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons gochujang
6 tablespoons soy sauce

For the Bowls:
12 ounces brown rice noodles
2 tablespoon oil
half an onion, chopped thinly
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups chopped asparagus
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
black sesame seeds for topping
limes for serving
a handful of fresh thai basil for serving

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Prepare the tofu: Drain tofu about an hour before you want to prepare your meal. Roll the tofu in an absorbent towel several times and then place something heavy on top to press. I use a pot on top of a cutting board and sometimes add something to the pot to add more weight. Do this for 30 minutes.

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven preheats, cut the tofu into bite size cubes. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar and gochujang. Gently toss the tofu in the mixture. Place the tofu on a nicely/generously oiled baking sheet, arranged in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the tofu is nicely brown and crisp on the outside. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Bangkok Curry Noodles with Crisp Tofu (3 of 11)

Prepare the noodles: soak the noodles in a bowl of cold water for at least 20 minutes, until they’re soft. Drain and rinse. Set aside until needed.

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Prepare the sauce: heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and ginger; stirring around for 3-5 minutes. Add the curry paste; cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, sugar, gochujang, and soy sauce. Simmer for 15 minutes or so while you prep the rest of the ingredients – it should thicken slightly.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining two tablespoons oil over high heat. Add the onion, carrots, broccoli, and asparagus. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until the broccoli and asparagus are bright green and just slightly tender. Add the noodles and baked tofu, tossing them around with the vegetables. Add the sauce and toss together until just combined (if you cook it too long at this point, the noodles can get overly sticky).

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Prepare the bowls: serve bowls topped with the purple cabbage and sesame seeds, along with a squeeze of lime and chopped basil leaves. Enjoy!

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Crispy Tofu Tacos with Creamy Roasted Poblano Sauce and Grilled Cotija Cheese


There are days (weeks, really) I am certain that I could live on tacos. Soft tacos, crunchy tacos. Veggie-stuffed, beans + cheese only, fish… I’m certain that making tacos at home means that anything you desire can be made into a taco. When it comes to vegetarian tacos, I get tired of what that usually means when I’m not at home: beans, rice, cheese, salsa; grilled zucchini, peppers and onions; just beans and cheese. Sure, you can add hot sauce to all the above options and they’re prime candidates for deliciousness, but here’s the thing: I like taco varieties.

As I’ve said before, I think great tacos (and burritos) are all about a good balance of textures. I don’t want the same old, same old, every time I crave tacos. Sometimes that means we add fish into the mix, but I wanted a decent vegetarian taco option, sans seafood, sans grilled dang vegetables, and sans your typical beans and rice (even if I served those on the side of these tacos). Thus the following recipe.

Our pepper plants are filled with huge poblanos, lovely jalapenos, anaheims and bell peppers right now. I decided to make a roasted poblano pepper sauce and let that be the highlight of these tacos. Since my crispy panko tofu seems to be a hit amongst many readers, I decided to revisit the recipe and tweak it to work as a taco filling. And grilled cotija cheese? Holy moly. This dry, crumbly, salty cheese puffs up while heating, but doesn’t melt. So you wind up with crisp, yet fluffy cheese to add a different texture to things, while the creamy avocado balances it all out. The sauce is versatile; you can use it in these tacos, on eggs, in a burrito, in place of anywhere you’d use a good hot sauce, to make chilaquiles – which we’ll visit in the next day or two.


Crispy Tofu Tacos with Creamy Roasted Poblano Sauce and Grilled Cotija Cheese

Serves 4 or so folks.


For the sauce:
5 large poblano peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole milk
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 small sweet onion, peeled
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

For the tofu:
one 14-oz. package extra firm tofu
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
olive oil

For the tacos:
2 ounces cotija cheese *
10-12 corn tortillas (fresher the better)
2 small ripe avocados

*If you cannot find cotija cheese, a mild, firm feta will suffice.



Prepare the tofu: Drain the water from the packaged tofu. Cut the block of tofu into 16 rectangles that are about 1-inch wide, 4-inches long, and 1/2-inch thick. (Basic math if your kid asks where the heck they’re going to use math in “real life”!) To do this, cut the tofu into 4 even-sized rectangles, then cut each of those in half, lengthwise, then cut those in half, lengthwise. You should wind up with 16 rectangles.

Lay the cut tofu on an absorbent towel (or 3-4 layers of paper towels). Wrap the tofu with the towel so it’s covered on all sides, then place a heavy cookbook or baking pan on top of the towel to press more liquid out of the tofu. Let the tofu sit like this while you make the sauce.

Roast the poblano peppers. If you have a gas stove, this is easily done by toasting the peppers over an open flame (on high), using tongs to turn the peppers constantly. Once the peppers are nicely blackened on all sides, place them in a bowl and then tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. The trapped steam will soften the peppers and loosen their skins. After 15 minutes, pull the stems out of each pepper. Pull the skins off the pepper. I like to do this under running cold water, as it seems to help make the job quicker. You can also use a paper towel to rub off the loosened skins. Holding one end, squeeze the pepper length-wise, to remove the bulk of its seeds (leave them in for a spicier sauce).

If you are using an oven, turn it on to the broiler setting. Brush each pepper with 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable, sunflower, or another high-smoke point oil. Arrange the peppers on a baking sheet, then place the sheet on the highest rack in your oven. Keeping a close eye on the peppers, remove them once dark, blackened spots appear. As with stove-top roasted peppers, place in a bowl and cover for 15 minutes. Follow the above directions for removing the skins and seeds.

Prepare the sauce: In a medium-saucepan, melt the olive oil and butter together, until the butter is completely melted, over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, creating a smooth paste. Allow the mixture to cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in milk all at once, continuing to stir periodically until the sauce thickens.

Meanwhile, as the sauce is thickening on the stove, combine the roasted peppers, garlic, onion, lime juice, salt, cumin, oregano, and granulated garlic in a food processor or high-speed blender. Pulse the mixture until smooth (3 to 4 minutes). Whisk the pepper mixture into the sauce on the stove until completely combined. Turn the heat down to low, occasionally stirring the sauce.

Make the crispy tofu: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Generously oil a large sheet pan and set it aside until needed. In a medium-sized dish, mix together the flour, panko breadcrumbs, salt, garlic, pepper, cumin, and coriander. In another medium-sized dish, mix together the buttermilk, egg, salt, garlic, and pepper until completely combined.

Unwrap your pressed tofu. Place the tofu into your buttermilk mixture, turning it a few times to coat the tofu well. Next dredge the tofu in the flour mixture, pressing both gently and firmly to coat the tofu well. Place the tofu on your prepared baking sheet. Do this will all of the tofu, placing the rectangles about 1/4-inch apart on the baking sheet. Once all of the tofu has been coated, drizzle the top of each tofu strip with a little oil (no more than 1/8-teaspoon per strip). Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the tofu and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until both sides are nicely golden brown.

Grill the cotija: Heat a small cast iron pan over high heat. Once the pan is very hot, crumble the cotija into the pan. Use a flat spatula to toss and turn the cheese constantly until it’s crisp and brown on the outside. Remove from heat.

Make your tacos: Heat your tortillas according to the package directions to soften them. Slice the avocados in thin strips. To prepare the tacos, layer in this order: tortilla, one or two tofu strips, a spoonful (as much as you prefer) of sauce, a couple avocado slices, a little more sauce, then a sprinkling of the grilled cheese. Eat immediately, while hot. Serve with a side of beans and rice if you’d like.

Refrigerate the leftover sauce.


Baked Barbecue Panko Tofu

Forbidden Rice Blog | Baked Barbecue Panko Tofu

I grew up with tofu around. Little cubes of white bean curd, topped with soy sauce, ginger, and green onion. Pockets of deep fried tofu (aburaage) filled with sweet sushi rice. Stir-fried pork tofu – a dish my mom would make that I don’t remember much about except salty pork laden with soy sauce and the same fried tofu as inari sushi (which I’d hunt out at dinner time – less pork, more sweet fried tofu!).

Tofu is low in calories, relatively high in protein, low in fat and high in iron. Quintessentially, it’s a dang good option for my family. I try to balance the soy with other vegetarian options week-by-week, including whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruit, or wheat based plant protein. Honestly though, tofu is one of my favorite options for versatility in non-meat dishes.

The following recipe started off with a plan to make baked tofu chicken nuggets, which I love to dip into barbecue sauce when eating. Then my husband stated he was craving barbecue tofu (no breading), which I am not crazy about. I wondered how I could combine both, a crispy baked tofu and the barbecue flavor saturated into the tofu rather than just as a dipping sauce. That’s where this experiment came from and the result was quite gratifying. I love crispy tofu and often resort to frying it to get a golden color and super crunchy texture. This baked tofu had a lovely color to it, though, and got wonderfully crunchy and flavorful.

I served this tofu alongside mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. It made a great sandwich for lunch the following day as well!

Baked Barbecue Panko Tofu

Yields enough tofu for 4-6 people.


For the sauce:
1 cup ketchup
½ cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. light brown sugar
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. granulated garlic
½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
1½ tsp. yellow mustard
1½ tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. red chili pepper flakes

20 oz. super firm high protein tofu
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. granulated garlic
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. ground white pepper
½ tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried thyme
canola or sunflower oil


Slice the tofu horizontally, into rectangular pieces about ¼-inch thick. Arrange the slices of tofu in a single layer on a clean dishtowel or a few layers of paper towel, then add another towel or paper towels on top, to absorb more of the water out of the tofu. Let the tofu sit 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While the tofu is hanging out, get out a small pot. In it, combine all of the ingredients for the barbecue sauce. Whisk together, to combine everything well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, allowing the sauce to cook for about 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Lightly brush a large baking sheet with the canola or sunflower oil. In a baking dish, combine the panko bread crumbs, granulated garlic, sea salt, white pepper, paprika, oregano, and thyme. Lightly toss to combine everything well.

Dip the tofu slices into the barbecue sauce, turning them a couple times to coat the tofu well. Now dip the tofu into the panko mixture, pressing firmly, but also gently so you don’t break the tofu. Turn and coat the other side with bread crumbs, too. Place the tofu on your prepared baking sheet. Continue to do this until all the tofu is sauced and breaded!

Lightly drizzle a little oil over the top of each breaded tofu slice. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the tofu over. Return to the oven and bake an additional 15 minutes. Brush the top of each slice with some of the leftover barbeque sauce. Bake for about 10 more minutes, flip and do the same thing for the other side.

Serve hot. You can drizzle on more of the barbeque sauce when serving as well if you’d like!