Recipe: Sous Vide Vegetarian Chili Garlic Tofu

  By Jack Lawson    

June 18, 2020

Tofu and chili-garlic sauce is a match made in heaven, one well established by pan-Asian cooking traditions. Sous vide leads to creamy yet firm tofu that's tough to beat. Moroccan Harissa is another winning combination, but one perhaps best saved for another recipe another time.


1 full block of firm tofu

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

2 tbsp of your favourite chili sauce, or the recipe below

2 stalks of green onion for garnishing

2 tbsp of white sesame seeds for garnishing

Chili Sauce

4 red jalapeno peppers

2 full heads of garlic

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp granulated white sugar

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp water

1 tsp corn starch


1Set water bath to 180 degrees Fahrenheit

2Chop Tofu into large steaks, if serving as a main, or into 1-inch cubes if serving as an element of noodles, for instance

3While the water is coming up to temperature blitz the red jalapeno peppers, garlic, salt, sugar and vinegar in a blender until chunky. Retain about 1/4 cups of the mixture if you want a thicker, more granular sauce

4Set blender to high and pulse until smooth

5Strain the mixture and recombine with the 1/4 cup of the original reserved mixture over medium-high heat

6As it comes up to temperature combine the corn starch and water to form a slurry

7Add your slurry to the pot and crank the heat to high

8When boiling remove immediately from heat and let cool completely

9While you wait, pan-fry your tofu with a little bit of vegetable oil in a pan until golden brown

10In a bowl whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili sauce until smooth

11In a large vacuum-sealable bag combine the final sauce and tofu then place in the water bath for 4 hours.

12When the cook is finished, remove the tofu and retain the cooking liquid

13Personally, I like to toss the tofu over medium heat with the sauce from the cook along with the green onion and white sesame seeds

Although we've included a recipe for homemade chili-garlic sauce here feel free to use your favourite brand, or experiment with other peppers. Just keep in mind that if you move much further past red jalapenos in terms of heat you'll need to start using a mixture of different chilis to temper, say, a bird's eye pepper base sauce. Either way, your chili sauce should last about a month if sealed in a mason jar and refrigerated.

Note that over time the chili sauce will become milder. If it's too hot at a taste give it a few days to see how the flavour develops.


1 Review

Charlene Chen

March 4, 2021

Yum! Tastes very similar to this Chinese dish my parents make called the “grandmother tofu”.

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