This Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl is easy, budget friendly and healthy meal option. A simple vegetarian dish made from baked spiced tofu with sesame dipping sauce and served with steamed cilantro lime rice.
I love rice bowl, they’re so much fun to make, they look very pleasing to the eyes and best of all they’re very satisfying and filling. With rice bowl, you get a different mix of little things. Plus, is super flexible in terms of what you add to build it. Just like an Oatmeal in the sense of flexible toppings.
I always make rice bowl, from My favorite Salmon, Chicken, Beef and Shrimp. Rice bowls are great meal prep, and a great way to use small pieces of left over vegetables. Mix and match whatever you like. I used medium soft tofu in this recipe, Ilike the medium softness and since I baked it, there’s no issue of it breaking into pieces. It’s stable enough to hold its shape.
Cilantro Lime Rice
You can use any kind of rice, regular white rice, brown rice, mixed rice, but if you want to make this bowl even more delicious an packed with freshness, I highly recommend you make the Cilantro Lime rice. It works well with the tofu and the vegetables, and it really adds a lot of freshness in the dish. Give it a try.
3 Ways to cook the tofu
- Oven: Arrange the tofu in a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Baked at 350F for 30 minutes, then flip to bake the other side and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes.
- On stove top. Use a non-stick pan and spray the pan with oil. Pre-heat the pan then arrange the tofu on the pan. Cook 8 minutes each side or until exterior turned nicely browned. This is perfect when you don’t have much time, this method cooks faster. Important thing to remember is do NOT flip the tofu until after full 8 -9 minutes in medium high heat. Medium firm tofu is more delicate, and flipping it back and forth could break it easily. Leave it alone and only flip once.
- On the grill (Just like my Tofu Skewers). Use a grilling pan and spray with oil. Pre-heat the grill to 350F, then arrange the tofu on the plate. Grill each side for 10 minutes.
Spices-up the tofu
The spice mix is very flexible. You can make your own spice mix, and it doesn’t have to be the exact spices that I used. You can add curry powder, cumin and other spices that you have in your kitchen. The important thing to remember is to season the tofu well as tofu doesn’t really have any taste.
Make the rice bowl
I love this part of assembling the rice bowl, so much fun to decorate to mix and match vegetables. Again, just like the slice mix, you can choose what you add in your rice bowl. There’s so many options that you can choose from. I used steamed cauliflower, cucumber carrots, pickled red bell pepper and onion. You can also use steamed Bokchoy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Beets and more. I’m not going to list down every possible vegetable you can use, I’ll leave that to your creativity.
I like it HOT
Spice warning here. If you don’t like spicy stuff, simply decrease the spices or even remove them if you cannot tolerate any heat. Just remember to season the tofu well regardless of what spices you
The Sesame Garlic Sauce
You have to make this to fully enjoy the dish. It’s like the icing on the cake, it’s not complete without the dipping sauce. If you are feeling lazy, you can use store-bought Teriyaki Sauce instead, but a sauce is a MUST, because again tofu relies highly on the seasoning and sauce for flavor and taste. I can assure you that without the proper amount of seasoning and a good dipping sauce, this dish is not going to be a winner. You might end up dissatisfied, so do yourself a favor and take few minutes to make the sauce. 5 minutes is all a I ask, you can even cook it in the microwave.
- 454 g medium soft tofu
- 2 tbsp chopped Cilantro or Cilantro Paste
- Juice of 1/2 Lime
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 cup cooked rice – I used my Cilantro-Lime Rice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Oregano
- 1/8 tsp Black pepper
- 1/8 tsp red chili flakes – optional
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp sesame seed
- 1/4 tsp mince garlic
- 1/4 tsp ginger paste
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- Prepare the Tofu: Unwrap the tofu an transfer in a cutting board. Put a paper towel and a heavy object on top (like a cast iron pan, Dutch oven pan or any heavy item you have in your kitchen) Leave the tofu for 30 minutes. The pressing will help drain the water from the tofu
- Prepare the Spice Mix: Mix all slice mix
- Seasons the Tofu: Spray The tofu with olive oil then sprinkle the spice mix to the tofu, back and front.
- Cook: Use a non-stick pan and spray the pan with oil. Pre-heat the pan then arrange the tofu on the pan. Cook 8 minutes each side or until exterior turned nicely browned. This is perfect when you don’t have much time, this method cooks faster. Important thing to remember is do NOT flip the tofu until after full 8 -9 minutes in medium high heat. Medium firm tofu is more delicate, and flipping it back and forth could break it easily. Leave it alone and only flip once.
- Make the Cilantro Lime Rice: Cook rice of your choice and transfer in a bowl while still hot. Add chopped cilantro, lime juice and salt. Mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. You can also use Cilantro paste (it comes in tube). Add as much or as little as you like depending on how strong you prefer the flavor.
- Make the Sesame Dipping Sauce: in a small pan, add water, soy sauce, minced garlic, ginger paste, salt, sugar, oregano and cornstarch. Stir. Bring to a boil while continuously stirring, stop as soon as you get the consistency that you prefer. Do not leave unattended as it could create lumps from the cornstarch. It should be about 5 minutes and the sauce will start get thick.
- Microwave: Alternatively, this can be done in the microwave. Microwave the mixture for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Do it in 30 seconds interval, stir after each 30 seconds interval.
- Assemble the Rice Bowl: Put the rice in a bowl, arrange the tofu on top and garnish with vegetable of your choice. Drizzle some sauce on top, and serve the remaining sauce on the side. Alternatively, you can also coat the tofu with the sauce. Transfer it in a bowl and pour the sauce. Toss to distribute the sauce.
My One Pan Mexican Black Beans and Quinoa got a makeover recently. Every thing is cooked in one pan, a perfectly quick and easy meal prep. Check it out.
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