This mouth-watering bang bang tofu is crispy on the outside, sweet, spicy and succulent on the inside. Serve these little bites on their own, over rice, or stuffed into tacos for a scrumptious vegan dinner.
Some of the recipes I post on this site are what I consider to be healthy, but not all of them are. They’re all vegan, but that doesn’t always mean healthy, and sometimes we end up with something that’s indulgent. I’m okay with that!
This recipe is one of those times. I felt like I had to put my little disclaimer up there because somebody is bound to show up here and be surprised. Also, some of my more indulgent recipes can easily be modified to be healthier, but I’m just not sure that would work very well with this one. (Perhaps I can interest you in some baked tofu instead? Try this, this, or this. They’re all delicious and way lighter!)
So, what makes bang bang tofu so indulgent? This tofu is dipped in a bath of vegan mayo and sweet chili sauce and then shallow-fried. That’s pretty heavy for me. But the result? So delicious!
I think it’s the mayo inside oil outside that gives these little bites such an amazing crispy texture, and then the chili sauce adds just the right amount of sweet heat.
I’d like to pretend this bit of evil genius is all mine, but I stole the idea from BoneFish Grill. My brother waited tables there when we were younger, and no they didn’t have bang bang tofu — I think salad and bread was about as good as I could do back then — but they did have bang bang shrimp. Swap the shrimp with tofu, use vegan mayo and you’ve got a delicious little vegan treat.
I belive the non-vegan version is served as an appetizer, but you could really enjoy this any way you like: on rice, over crispy lettuce leaves à la BoneFish, in a sandwich, whatever! My husband and I actually stuffed them into soft tacos, which was great and I totally regret not thinking of before snapping my photos for this post.
Bang Bang Tofu
- 1/2 cup vegan mayo (I used Just Mayo)
- 2 tablespoons sambal oelek
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- About 1/4 cup high heat vegetable oil like canola
- 1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
- Chopped scallions
- Cooked rice lettuce leaves, and/or small flour tortillas
In a small bowl, stir together the mayo, sambal oelek, maple syrup, and rice vinegar. In a separate bowl, stir together the cornstarch and salt.
Very generously coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place it over medium heat. Place a few tofu cubes into the mayo mixture and toss to coat. Shake off the excess coating and transfer them to the cornstarch mixture. Toss to coat, and then transfer them to the skillet. Continue adding as much tofu to the skillet as you can fit without crowding. Cook for about 10 minutes, flipping about twice, until browned and crispy on multiple sides. Transfer the cooked tofu to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all of the tofu is cooked, adding more oil to the skillet as needed between batches.
Serve the tofu over rice, lettuce leaves, or in tortillas as tacos. Drizzle with any leftover mayo mixture and sprinkle with scallions.