Healthy & Delicious: Sweet and Spicy Tofu Recipe

Healthy and Delicious

Healthy and delicious recipes from Serious Eats

Healthy & Delicious: Sweet and Spicy Tofu Recipe

Editor's note: On Mondays, Kristen Swensson of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share healthy and delicious recipes with us. Take it away, Kristen!

Unlike some ardent carnivores, who tend to dislike its texture and seeming lack of flavor, I’ve never had a problem with tofu. My friend Heather introduced me to bean curd in college, and while I rarely seek it out, we’ve always been on friendly terms.

Recently, I’ve been thinking of going vegetarian for a month (just for kicks) and would like to incorporate some tofu into my diet. There won’t be anything crazy—no tofundue or from-scratch tofurkies—but a stir-fry or two couldn’t hurt. Unfortunately, having virtually zero experience preparing the stuff, I need to get on my game.

So, Saturday night, I hit up All Recipes for the best rated, most idiot-proof tofu recipe I could find. Hot and Spicy Tofu fit the bill, not least because it was submitted by a site member named RitalinCindy. “Hey,” I thought to myself, “if RitalinCindy can do this, I should be OK.”

Based on reviewer suggestions, I halved the pepper flakes, added a little honey, and pressed the tofu itself beforehand, to get rid of some of the moisture and make it easier to stir-fry. (Changes reflected below.) The result was more sweet-n-spicy than hot-n-spicy, but delicious nonetheless. Paired with rice, it’d make a faboo weekday meal, and might even trick some anti-tofu friends into accepting bean curd into their hearts.

Of course, if they’re hardcore meat eaters, chicken or pork could be swapped in seamlessly here. Y’know, just in case.

  • Yield:4


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 package (14-ounce) firm tofu
  • 1 red onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Rice, for serving


  1. 1.

    Drain the tofu, place it on a dry surface, and weigh it down with two or three dinner plates for one hour, draining every few minutes. After time is up, chop tofu into 1/2-inch cubes.

  2. 2.

    Heat peanut oil in a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Toss the tofu into the oil, and cook until browned on all sides. Once browned, toss in onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, and garlic; cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.

  3. 3.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the hot water, vinegar, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes. Pour over tofu and vegetables, toss to coat, and simmer 3 to 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens slightly. Serve with rice.