This vegan sushi bowl and spicy pan fried tofu recipe is a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Crispy, delicious, saucey, loaded with plant protein and juuust spicy enough. It’s naturally gluten free, vegan, and perfect for meal prep!
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If the thought of tofu makes you squirm and think of bland blocks of mush, think again!! This spicy pan fried tofu is crispy, PACKED with flavor and ready in just 10 minutes. This is what Tuesday night (or any night really) dinner dreams are made of.
Sushi bowls (and my new favorite poke bowls) are a lazy gal’s go to dinner. I mean who doesn’t love sushi? But who wants to spend extra time delicately rolling your filling into a piece of seaweed only to have everything fall apart?? Not I! So it’s vegan sushi bowls to the rescue.
They’re everything you would want in sushi, only put in a bowl instead. I like to top mine with some chopped nori to give the ultimate sushi feel.
How to make crispy tofu
More often than not, super crispy tofu is deep fried. I didn’t want to go that route, so I’ve come up with an easy pan fried method that makes the ultimate crispy tofu.
The first thing you need to do is take a block of extra firm tofu and remove it from the package. I’m sure you could’ve guessed that step, but I like to make things super clear ya know?!
Next, drain off any excess liquid and place the tofu between a kitchen towel or a few paper towels.
Since most of us don’t have a tofu press, I like to take a tea pot filled with water or a couple of heavy books to press the excess liquid out of the tofu.
You ideally want to do this for about 30 minutes, but even just 5-10 minutes will help the tofu firm up and get extra crispy. If your stomach is growling and you just have to eat right now, you can safely skip the tofu pressing step, but the tofu won’t get quite as crispy.
Chop the tofu into small cubes or triangles (any shape will do) and add to a bowl.
Toss the tofu in the cornstarch until each piece is well coated. Add the tofu to a pan with a small amount of oil (about 1-2 tablespoons depending on the type of pan you have) and let cook on each side until golden brown. The secret here is to not touch the tofu while it’s cooking on each side to make sure it gets ultra crispy.
While it’s crisping up, whisk together the soy sauce and sriracha. It seems so simple (it is!), but these two sauces together make for one flavorful sauce. Trust me! Once every side is golden, add in the sauce and simmer over low heat to let the sauce thicken.
After a few minutes, flip the tofu to make sure all sides are well coated and then assemble with your bowls.
- Once prepared, the tofu should store in the fridge for about 3 days. Keep it in an air tight container for best results. The tofu will lose some of its crispiness as it sits in the fridge, but you can re-fry it to get some back.
- I tried to go along a traditional vegan sushi bowl theme with the veggies, but you can use whatever you like! Some of my favorites include carrots, cabbage, cucumber, scallions, radishes, or even some broccoli.
- It only takes about 5 minutes to pan fry tofu. I like to cut it in triangles so you only need to cook it on two sides. Cook it for about two minutes on one side, flip, cook for two more minutes and then coat in the sauce.
- When pan frying tofu, extra firm works best, but if you only have firm or medium-firm, that will work, but you will want to press it for longer to get the excess moisture out.
- If you notice the tofu sticking at all while it’s “frying” just add a little more oil to loosen it up. You don’t want it to stick to the pan because it will peel off the crispy exterior.
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Lastly, if you make this sesame tofu, don’t forget to tag me on instagram so I can see your creation! Leave a comment and rating below and let me know how they turn out!
Vegan Sushi Bowl with Spicy Pan Fried Tofu
- Remove the tofu from the package and drain excess liquid. Press it between a towel using a hard object (tea pot or books work well) for at least 10 minutes.
- Cut the tofu into small cubes or triangles.
- Add the tofu to a bowl and toss with 2 tbsp of cornstarch. Make sure it is well coated.
- Add to a pan with the oil and cook over low heat.
- Cook until the bottom is golden brown and crispy, then flip and cook on each side. *avoid touching the tofu when it is crisping if you want to make sure it actually gets crispy!*
- Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce and sriracha in a small bowl.
- When each side of the tofu is crispy, pour the sauce into the pan and reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer to let the sauce thicken. This should only take about about 2-3 minutes. The cornstarch that was used on the tofu will be what thickens it up.
- Assemble the bowls by adding a base of rice, then top with veggies, tofu, avocado, dressing and sesame seeds and enjoy!