Spicy Pan-Fried Tofu Rice Bowl

This spicy pan-fried tofu rice bowl has everything you could ever want: crispy tofu, crunchy kimchi, runny eggs and fresh herbs.

can weeks be made solely made of weekends? i went to san diego this past weekend, and the day trip was filled with burritos, hot fudge sundaes and good company. i’m already looking forward to next weekend: one of my good friends is coming down, and we’ve already planned out (actually tho; there’s a whole google doc with time breakdowns and everything) all the food and pretty places we’re going to.

so in prep for that kind of overindulgence, this spicy pan-fried tofu rice bowl is just the thing. tofu is one of my staples; i’m essentially vegetarian at school since i only eat meat when i go out (i don’t like touching/cooking raw meat, and i’m not a huge fan of meat anyways. with the major exception of everything at kbbq). between the tofu and an optional egg on top, there’s plenty of protein. kimchi and all of its macrobiotic properties can help clean out your stomach. it’s hearty and healthy but all of that would be for naught if it didn’t taste good.

i feel like spicy pan-fried tofu rice bowl doesn’t do the dish complete justice. if i had my way, there’d be 15 different descriptors tacked on, talking about all the ingredients in it because they’re all delicious. but i won’t, so here goes. the tofu and kimchi add that spicy, savory quality. there’s plenty of herbs for freshness (i like mint, basil and scallions/green onions, but cilantro, thai basil, etc would be delicious too). nuts and the sesame seeds in the furikake add a bit of crunch and toastiness. more vegetables would certainly be welcome here, too: maybe some sauteed zucchini or broccoli or cauliflower. might i also suggest the addition of pickled daikon? my family would have revolted (i have a jar of the homemade stuff that they find a little fragrant), but maybe your family is more open-minded.

Spicy Pan-Fried Tofu Rice Bowl | Delicious Not Gorgeous

1 year ago: Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage, Pecan Chocolate Espresso Coffee Cake
2 years ago: Aunty M’s Thai Shrimp Curry, Procrastination Thursday
3 years ago: Artichoke Chicken, Banana Granola

Spicy Pan-Fried Tofu Rice Bowl
adapted slightly from World Street Kitchen (Minneapolis) via Bon Appetit, April 2015

Tofu
14 oz extra-firm tofu, drained, cut into 8 pieces
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 T hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (or whatever herb(s) you like)
1″ knob peeled ginger, coarsely chopped

  1. Place the tofu on a rimmed baking sheet layered with paper towels; top with several more paper towels and press gently to squeeze out liquid. Transfer tofu to a shallow dish.
  2. Blend everything else until smooth and paste-like. Pour over tofu and turn to coat. Chill 2-12 hours. Alternatively, if you don’t have time to marinate the tofu (or if you want the tofu to be super crispy), I recommend pan-frying the tofu in only cornstarch and then drizzling the marinade on top afterwards. If you coat the tofu in the sauce then immediately try to dredge it in the cornstarch, the sauce comes off of the tofu and slides into the cornstarch.

Assembly
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 cups short-grain rice, cooked
4 eggs, cooked however you like
1 cup kimchi
fresh herbs: cilantro, basil, green onions, mint, etc
1/4 cup roasted peanuts (walnuts or almonds work in a pinch)
2 T toasted sesame seeds

  1. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet.
  2. Place cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, remove tofu from marinade (do not scrape it off) and toss in cornstarch; shake off excess. Working in batches, pan-fry tofu, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; let drain.
  3. Divide rice among bowls. Make a small well in the center of each and nestle and egg inside. Top with tofu, then kimchi, herbs, peanuts and sesame seeds. Serve immediately for maximum crispiness.

Spicy Pan-Fried Tofu Rice Bowl | Delicious Not Gorgeous

36 Replies to “Spicy Pan-Fried Tofu Rice Bowl”

  1. Yummmm this has made me sad though because I can’t eat tofu or soy products 🙁 I might substitute it with fried cauliflower instead. Your trip down to San Diego sounds soooo delicious.

    1. i bet fried cauliflower would be delicious! let me know how that goes if you try it (: san diego was so tasty just from the two places i went to that i already know i need to go back (my list of places to try is already pretty long, oops).

  2. I don’t eat tofu unless it has been fermented, but DAMN that looks delicious!!!! – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

    1. i’ve never had fermented tofu, but i’m betting it would work here! there’s already some funk/fermentation going on. not sure if it holds up to slicing and pan-frying, but if it doesn’t, you could just toss the tofu with the sauce.

  3. OMG, this looks absolutely delicious. The crispy edges on the tofu…want to take a bite right now! Looks like a great meal!

    1. The tofu looks like fried halloumi cheese! Yummy.

      1. ooh, i bet that would be delicious as well (:

    2. the crispy edges of the tofu are the best! if you add a fried egg, you can make the edges of that super crispy and lacy too :3

  4. I am a big fan of rice bowls especially when it is topped with a beautifully fried egg. I can imagine this bowl must be a good flavor with all those lovely herbs and the kimchi!

    1. sameeee. i’m convinced a crispy egg can make anything better (unless you get impatient and turn up the heat too much and the egg gets a bit of char. may or may not be guilty of this).

  5. Wow this looks amazing!! I love tofu. Yummy!!

    1. thanks! i love tofu, too, and probably end up eating it at least 2x a week; but i still need some way to get excited about it, which is where this one comes in~

  6. I love this! Unfortunately tofu is on my “need to limit” list, so I might try it using Paneer instead. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. i’m sure it’d be tasty with paneer too! or anything that’s pretty mild would work. preferably something pretty firm so that it can get pan-fried and still hold its shape, but it’s not a deal breaker if the protein is a little bit softer.

  7. I love me some tofu, but sadly it never comes out super flavorful. I’m going to try your recipe, it looks so tasty and full of flavor. 🙂 The Kimchi adds a nice bit of spiciness and the addition of pickled daikon gives the dish texture.

    1. the nice thing about tofu is that it can get flavored however you want. but you’re right; it can be on the bland side. i like to season it with strong flavors (soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, kimchi juice, furikake, this spicy sauce, etc) and pair it with other things. and yes, the kimchi and pickled daikon are some of my favorite textures in this (besides the crispy tofu, ofc).

  8. Just looking at it makes my life SPICY!! I don’t do tofu, but I can sub in some chicken breast! 😉

    1. lol spicy life = happy life. chicken breast would be delicious, too!

  9. This looks great! I happen to love tofu

    1. thanks! this is perfect if you happen to love tofu (:

  10. Ah haha! You have pickled daikon in the fridge too? Every time I open my fridge people always asks me what that fluorescent radio active yellow things in the jars are! I love that stuff! But wow pairing up that with kimchi definitely puts flavour into some nice and toasted tofu! :O Such a comforting and quick meal! I really need to buy more tofu now.
    Oh and hope you and friend have a fantastic weekend!! 🙂 It’s so fun to plan out food stops! 😀 haha

    1. i think people are used to seeing unusual things in my fridge by now 😂 tbh it’s not the fastest meal ever (pan-frying tofu can take a while if you really want to baby it and pan-fry all the sides), but it’s definitely comforting.

  11. I love tofu like no other! This looks delish!

    1. then you might love tofu more than me (; thanks sophie!

  12. I WISH it could be all weekends!! Your trip to San Diego sounds amazing and wow I’m impressed by your google-doc level of organisation for this weekend! Definitely saving this for an easy dinner on the go too <3

    1. there might be too much organization (i thought i was the most type a of this group but maybe not 😂).

  13. I’ve only cooked with tofu once in my life (for a delicious soup) and I’m not quite sure how this is possible? Especially when I see recipes like the one you made here. Okay, time to head to the store… this recipe looks too good to pass up!

    1. there’s so much you can do with tofu, and it’s hard to screw it up. the major prob is probably having it be too bland, but it’s easy to add a little bit more salt, or maybe a spicy sauce, or maybe some sort of sprinkle (furikake, za’atar, etc).

  14. I 100% back you on making weeks totally of weekends. While we’re at it, can we get paid to daydream or is that just asking for too much? Either way, I’m glad you had a blast in San Diego. Getting to spend days of eating and hanging with the homies is a great way to do anything. And then getting to plan things via google docs sounds like you’re setting yourself for EVEN MORE excitement. I didn’t know you’re not so crazy about meat which is so interesting to hear. I love that you know what you like and don’t like and seeing the tofu here on your bowl makes me hungry for it. That’s coming from a meat lover so you have some great cooking skills! If you ever swing by LA with that bowl, please stop at my house cuz I’d love a bite!!!

    1. i’m down to get paid to daydream too!! san diego was so fun! and there was tons of excitement this past weekend, which may or may not have contributed to the lack of productivity since my friend flew home. i’m sure i’ll get motivation back some day. i still eat meat (there was kbbq involved this weekend), but i’m also perfectly happy without it (90% of the time; the other times i’m craving spam, bacon, anything processed or braised/super tender lol).

  15. Hi Heather! Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂
    Pan fried tofu is actually one of my FAVORITE go-to dinners, plus a whole lot of fresh kimchi on the side!! Greetings from So Cal 😉

    1. oooh, same! pan-fried tofu was definitely in the weeknight dinner rotation growing up, usually with sauteed kale and rice (and sometimes seaweed and/or kimchi). not the fastest thing (especially if you try to baby it and pan-fry all the sides!), but satisfying and tasty~

  16. We made a similar dish with tofu two days ago. It’s delicious when dipped in chili sauce. And kimchi does go well with it.

    1. dipped in chili sauce sounds tasty, too! my personal favorite is chili garlic sauce (because it’s more garlicky than make your mouth suffer for days spicy), but i bet any would be good 😊

  17. Yum!!! I love bowls of any kind and especially with these flavors. I’ve never used kimchi before but I keep seeing recipes with it and am very intrigued! I’m happy to have stumbled across your blog. 🙂

    1. i’d liken kimchi to sauerkraut’s spicy, funky cousin. it’s definitely a bit of an unusual taste if you’ve never had it before, and i’d recommend trying a fresher one (aka one that hasn’t been fermented as long), or cooking it (since that mellows things out) if you find that it’s a bit much for you.

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