Crispy Tofu Tacos
With all the hype of bang bang shrimp tacos, I decided to create a vegan version that is just as delicious, if not better than the original (it’s also worth to mention they are healthier and cruelty free!). To make these tacos vegan, I substituted the shrimp for crispy fried tofu and created a vegan version of the bang bang sauce. I played around with asian spices and fixings, and created an asian slaw to compliment the flavors of the bang bang sauce. Finally to complete the tacos, I used peanuts and some squirts of lime to bring out the flavors. By using gluten free tortillas, the tacos can be made gluten free as well :). These tacos will change your life whether you are vegan or not!
For the asian slaw I used a mixture of shredded red cabbage, green cabbage, and carrots. I tossed this with soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, olive oil, and sesame oil. The soy sauce and sesame oil really bring the asian flavors to life, and the brown sugar gives a subtly sweet undertone. This asian slaw would be great eaten by itself too! You could even use whatever is left over from the tacos and make a salad for lunch the next day by adding in some peanuts, tofu pieces, wonton crisps, or eating it with a side of rice!
Now, let me tell you about the tofu. For years, I have struggled to cook tofu to get the flavor, texture and consistency that I desired. I envied restaurants who could get tofu to be extra crispy on the outside and super creamy on the inside. I endlessly searched for recipes hoping to make tofu that would give me an “oh my god” moment when I tasted it. But…. I finally figured out how to make my tofu to die for!!!! The secret is in the cornstarch. After draining and cutting the tofu, I toss the pieces in a light layer of cornstarch and let it be absorbed into the tofu. When the tofu is fried, the cornstarch allows for an extra crispy layer to form around the outside while keeping the inside soft and creamy. Since I figured this secret out, I have not changed the way I prepare tofu, and I don’t know if I ever will! In addition, if you want to flavor the tofu, just mix some dry spices in with the cornstarch before tossing the tofu and the tofu will absorb the spice! For a healthier option, you could bake the tofu… but I can’t quite seem to get the texture right with baking :(. If you have any suggestions let me know in the comments!
Now for the part of this recipe that gives it a BANG….. the bang bang sauce. The original bang bang sauce is a mayonnaise based sauce with sriracha and sweet chili sauces mixed in. Thus, to make it vegan all you need to do is replace the mayonnaise. I used vegenaise for this, but feel free to use any other mayonnaise replacement that you know of! You can play around with the sriracha and sweet chili sauce to make the level of spiciness to your liking. I topped the tacos with the bang bang sauce, but feel free to toss the tofu in the sauce to coat the pieces. By tossing the tofu, you will create a closer version to the original bang bang shrimp tacos.
For my crispy tofu tacos I used gluten free corn tortillas. They were the healthiest and cheapest tortillas that I found, so I thought why not? But, you can use any tortilla you would like! Experiment with hard or soft shells too, and let me know how they taste!
To finish this dish, I used peanuts and fresh squirts of lime to really bring out all the flavors. The peanuts compliment the asian flavors and the lime gives a little zing to each bite.
Follow along below to see each step I did, and find the full recipe at the end of this post!
To start, I gathered the ingredients I would need (bang bang sauce is already prepared in this picture).
While the tofu was draining, I prepared the asian slaw. It was super simple! I threw all the slaw ingredients together, mixed, and set aside.
Then I prepared the tofu. After the tofu drained, I cut the block into bite sized pieces.
I tossed the pieces in cornstarch, and then fried until they were crispy and golden-brown on the outside. To fry, heat a pan over high heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry both sides of the tofu for about 5 minutes on each side (about 10 minutes all together). The outside of the pieces should be crispy to the touch when done. After frying, I placed the pieces on a paper-towel lined plate in order to soak up any excess oil still on the tofu from frying (don’t skip this step!)
Almost done! Next, prepare the bang bang sauce. Adjust the amount of sriracha and sweet chili sauce used to tailor the sauce to your liking!
Finally, assemble the tacos, and enjoy the life changing deliciousness of these crispy tofu tacos!
Crispy Tofu Tacos
- 1/2 head red cabbage
- 1/2 head green cabbage
- 1 cup carrot slices
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3 TBSP rice vinegar
- 3 TBSP brown sugar
- 3 tsp minced ginger
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 package firm tofu
- oil for frying
Bang Bang Sauce
- 1/2 cup vegenaise
- 2 1/2 TBSP sriracha sauce
- 1 1/2 TBSP sweet chili sauce
- 1 small lime
- tortilla shells
Cut both cabbages into small slivers similar to the size of slivered carrots.
Toss carrots and cabbage together in a large bowl.
Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, olive oil, and sesame oil to carrots and cabbage. Mix until well combined and set aside.
Drain tofu by placing in a cloth and letting a heavy object sit on top for 15-20 minutes.
Cut tofu into bite sized pieces.
Toss tofu pieces in cornstarch to lightly coat.
Fill frying pan with enough oil to cover half the width of the tofu pieces. Heat over high heat.
Fry the tofu pieces until golden-brown in color (about 10 minutes, 5 minutes on each side).
Transfer tofu pieces to a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil.
Bang Bang Sauce
Mix together vegenaise, sriracha sauce, and sweet chili sauce until combined. For a spicier sauce add more sriracha sauce. For a sweeter sauce add more sweet chili sauce and less sriracha sauce.
To assemble tacos, place slaw inside tortilla shell followed by tofu pieces. Top with bang bang sauce, peanuts, and a squirt of lime juice.