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Red Hot Chili Tofu

I often find myself craving tofu and like it prepared in a variety of ways. One recipe that has a regular spot in my menu rotation is the Red Hot Chili Tofu from Vegan Fire and Spice. The tofu gets dredged in cornstarch and cooked to a crisp golden brown. It is then cloaked in a spicy red sauce that coats the tofu with flavor.

The “red hot” in the title has as much to do with the color as with the heat. With one teaspoon of chili paste, I’d call it moderately spicy, and since we like our food extra-hot, I usually toss in an extra “oops” of chili paste into the sauce. This recipe makes just enough sauce to coat the tofu, so if you want extra sauce, simply double the amount of sauce ingredients in the recipe.

Red Hot Chili Tofu

The tomato paste and chili paste combine to turn the tofu a lovely red color. Add more or less chili paste according to your heat tolerance. (From Vegan Fire and Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes.)

3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon soy sauce
3 teaspoons sake or dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch strips
3 tablespoons cold-pressed canola oil
1/4 cup minced scallions
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon hot chili paste (or more, to taste)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish

In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, water, soy sauce, sake, and sugar. Mix well and set aside.
In a shallow bowl, combine the cornstarch and salt. Dredge the tofu strips in the cornstarch mixture, shaking off any excess.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu in batches and cook until golden brown. Transfer to a platter.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the same skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the scallions, garlic, ginger, and chili paste, and cook, stirring for 15 seconds. Add the reserved tomato paste mixture and stir until well blended.
Add the reserved tofu and toss gently to coat with the sauce, cooking until heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve hot, sprinkled with cilantro

Serves 4