Crispy Tofu with Sweet Chili Sauce (Tianla Cuipi Doufu)
Crispy tofu with sweet chili sauce might be the Chinese equivalent of onion rings and ranch dressing—an addictive pairing in which a crisp, fried food becomes the vehicle for a flavorful sauce. We wanted to try to create our own version that could be served as a first course or a main dish.
Why This Recipe Works
Before we developed our crispy tofu recipe, we would have guessed that extra-firm tofu would be best for frying, but we were proven wrong when our tasters preferred medium-firm and soft tofu. A coating of cornstarch and cornmeal gave the tofu a golden, crispy exterior and a soft and creamy interior. With only five ingredients, the sauce for our crispy tofu recipe came together with relative ease. We used rice vinegar for tanginess, sugar for sweetness, Asian chile paste for heat, and water to help temper the pungency, and thickened it with cornstarch so that it had the perfect consistency to cling to the pieces of fried tofu.