When I asked my Thai friend Sirichai for some Thai recipe recommendations, he sent me to his cousin’s website, Hot Thai Kitchen. Pailin Chongchitnant is an excellent chef, and she makes cooking fun to watch. The original recipe for crispy tofu comes from her blog and she also has a YouTube video. I followed the recipe and I made a few adjustments to simplify the instructions. However, I recommend her original video to watch the best method.
The salty and spicy flavours remind me of Asian food, though I would not have guessed that it is Thai. In fact, I did not have an opportunity to try this dish in Thailand when I visited Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Pha Ngan and Ko Tao. However, now I am very glad to have tried making it at home. It is a very tasty snack or starter! And, a tip is that re-heating these in the air fryer makes them deliciously crispy again.
300g medium-firm tofu
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup fine unseasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic
1 green chili
1/4 of a red bell pepper or another type of red chili
1 green onion
1/2 tsp fine salt or more for seasoning at the end
3/4 tsp fine sugar
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
First, cut tofu into small cubes, about 2 cm. Place tofu cubes into a container just large enough to hold them. Then add 1/2 cup of water and 3 Tbsp of soy sauce. Let it soak for 10 minutes. Flip the tofu over in the water and let soak for another 10 minutes. Finally, drain the tofu and set aside.
Preparing the toppings
While the tofu is soaking you can prepare the toppings. Combine the 1/4 tsp salt, sugar and white pepper in one small bowl. Crush the garlic in a garlic press, and keep them in another bowl. Slice green onions diagonally. Add the white part to the garlic and keep the green part separate. Slice the green and red peppers into small pieces and place them with the garlic.
First, place the flour, eggs, and the breadcrumbs into separate bowls. Beat the egg well, and add a teaspoon of water. Stir black pepper into the breadcrumbs.
Next, toss the tofu in the flour, a few pieces at a time, then place them in a sieve and gently shake off excess flour as much as possible. Drop them in the egg bowl and turn them around to coat in the egg. Lift the tofu from the egg, one at a time, letting the excess egg drip off the tofu, then place it into the breadcrumbs and immediately toss it in the breadcrumb to coat.
Coat each piece of tofu again in the egg and breadcrumb for a second coat.
Heat about 1 inch of oil in a small pot over medium heat. Drop the tofu into the oil and fry for 2 minutes until golden brown on all sides. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel. For extra crispy tofu, you can fry the pieces again after they have cooled slightly. Or my method is to crisp them in the air fryer at 180C for about 8 minutes.
Adding the Toppings
Add 1 Tbsp oil to a wok, then add the garlic, white part of green onion, and the peppers. Saute over medium low heat until the garlic is golden. Turn off the heat, add tofu and toss to mix. Transfer into a mixing bowl, sprinkle half of the sugar-salt mixture over the tofu and toss to coat. Taste the tofu before you add more to taste. Toss in green onions and serve immediately!
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