Crispy Tofu Bowls


  • 3 tablespoons soybean oil (vegetable oil), divided
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 medium or 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons gochujang paste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 persian cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups cooked rice, for serving
  • Sliced Scallions, chopped cilantro and toasted sesame seeds, for serving


  1. Drain and press the tofu by using a tofu press or wrapping the tofu in paper towels or dish towels and then placing a heavy object on top, like a skillet with a few canned goods inside. Let that sit for at least 5 minutes to remove as much water as possible.
  2. While the tofu is pressing, make the cucumbers. In a medium bowl, mix together the cucumbers, rice wine vinegar, sugar and toasted sesame oil. Toss until well combined.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of soybean oil (vegetable oil) in a cast iron skillet or other nonstick skillet. Crumble the tofu directly into the pan and stir, breaking up the tofu as much as possible. Cook until very dry and crispy on the outside, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan.
  4. While the tofu is cooking, whisk together the sauce: soy sauce, gochujang paste, ginger, maple syrup and tahini.
  5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of soybean oil (vegetable oil) in the same skillet and add in the bell pepper, garlic, and shallot. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 8-10 minutes. Add the tofu back into the pan. Drizzle the sauce over and toss until well combined, cooking another 2-3 minutes over low heat until hot.
  6. Divide the cooked rice into 4 bowls and top with the crispy tofu, pickled cucumbers, scallions, cilantro, and sesame seeds as desired.