Main Meals

Chilli Tofu (Vegan, Indo-Chinese Recipe)

Chilli tofu is a plant-based version of a popular Indo-Chinese dish, chilli chicken. It’s packed with flavors and easy dish for an appetizer or a side dish. Vegan and gluten-free friendly recipe.

Indo-Chinese is a distinct cuisine that combines the flavors of India with the staples of Chinese cuisine. The origins of Indo-Chinese food date back more than 100 years to the Chinatown of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata). Here is a great article on Indo-Chinese cuisine if you are interested to learn more. Indo-Chinese food is beloved in Southeast Asian diaspora because it’s so tasty – all the punchy flavors, sticky sauces, stir-fried veggies, meats, noodles, and more!

Chilli tofu (or any chili dish), there are three main components – really delicious sauce, your choice of protein (often deep fried) such as chicken, paneer, tofu, or more veg such as cauliflower and sauteed vegetables (onion, bell peppers, chilies, tomatoes). I also highly recommend using a wok or heavy bottom pan to make this dish and work fast so the veggies maintain their crispiness.

This chilli tofu is plant-forward recipe that I often make for weeknight and pair it with rice. Be sure to use the extra-firm tofu and drain the excess moisture out as much as possible.

Chilli Tofu (Vegan, Indo-Chinese Recipe)

for 4 servings


  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, drained and pat dry, cut into cubes

  • 1-2 tablespoon corn starch

  • pinch of salt and pepper

  • 2-3 tablespoon neutral oil

  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 2-3 chili peppers, thinly sliced, optional

  • 1 medium onion, large dice

  • 1 bell pepper, large dice

  • 2 medium tomatoes, large dice

  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)

  • 1 tablespoon ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or add additional ketchup if you don’t want too spicy)

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

  • salt, pepper, and sugar (only if needed to balance the flavors)

  • chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish


  1. In a bowl, mix cornstarch, salt, and pepper together. Add cubed tofu to the bowl and coat with the cornstarch mixture.

  2. Heat oil in a wok or a heavy bottom pan. Fry tofu pieces until evenly brown (3-4 minutes). Pan-fry them in batches if needed. Transfer to a clean plate and set aside.

  3. In the same wok/pan, add more oil if needed. Stir fry ginger, garlic, and chili for 1-2 minutes.

  4. Add diced onions, bell peppers and sautee for few minutes, slightly softened.

  5. While veggies are being sauteed, in a small bowl mix soy sauce, ketchup, Sriracha, and vinegar. Pour the sauce (reserve few tablespoons) into the wok and toss everything together.

  6. Add tomatoes, tofu and remaining sauce to the wok. Let it cook for few minutes.

  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

  8. Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro before serving.

Dixya Bhattarai

Dixya Bhattarai

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