Korean-Inspired Crispy Tofu Tacos
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 6 tacos 1x
- One 16-ounce block extra-firm tofu
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage
- ½ cup shredded carrots
- Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges for serving
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced mini cucumbers
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¾ cup rice wine vinegar, divided
- ½ teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru) or crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Canola oil or vegetable oil, for sauteing
- 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (from about 3 or 4 medium cloves)
- ½ cup gochujang (Korean chili paste), or to taste
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- 6 flour tortillas, warmed, for serving
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Rinse the tofu, slice it into 1-inch-thick slabs, and lay them on the prepared baking sheet. Top with more towels. Press the tofu by placing a heavy book or cast iron skillet on top. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the red and green cabbage with the carrots and toss with lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate small bowl, combine the cucumber slices, sugar, ¼ cup of the rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes (if using). Cover both bowls and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
- Using your hands, crumble the tofu into a medium bowl. Add cornstarch and toss until evenly coated. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tofu and cook until browned and crispy all over, turning and breaking up the pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tofu to a plate.
- Add more oil to the pan, if necessary, and briefly sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the gochujang, brown sugar, soy sauce, and remaining ½ cup rice wine vinegar. Cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Add tofu back to the pan and stir until well coated. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- Top each tortilla with cabbage slaw. Spoon the tofu over the slaw and top with the pickled cucumbers. Serve.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 15 mins
These photos are beautiful!! This recipe sounds delicious!! Pinning for later.
Jere Cassidy says
These are some seriously delicious looking tacos and with all the veggie toppings. I want one.
Nancy | Flavorpalooza says
Ok, this is a MUST-MAKE! My kids love tofu and tacos, so mixing up the flavor profile a bit will be a hit I know! Thanks for the creative idea.
Like you, I have had some bad tofu in my day, but this looks amazing. I just want to dig in. I wouldn't have never thought tofu could be so crispy or good!
These look incredible! I love the variety of colors, textures, and flavors. Pinning to try later!
The color in these tacos is amazing! I think my family might actually eat tofu if I serve it with all this flavor.
These tacos look amazing - I am so making them!
I just made these and holy hell they were spicy, there were tasty but my whole face was on fire after using 1/2 cup of that Korean chili paste .
Brianna Kratky says
Easy to follow and very tasty! My tofu never really got super crispy but was still delicious!
This was unfortunately a total bust. The tofu never got crispy and the cornstarch stuck to the bottom of my pan do I ended up with soggy oily tofu. Any tricks for how to get the texture right? A certain kind of pan? Perhaps some guidance on how long to cook the tofu?
Hi Susie! I'm sorry to hear that. Based on the problems you mentioned, it sounds like it was likely due to excess moisture. Is it possible that the moisture wasn't pressed out of the tofu enough? It's key to this recipe that lots of towels and and something heavy to press so that the tofu releases all of the water it holds onto. Let me know if that sounds right. If not, I'll try to figure out what else the issue could have been!
Thanks for your reply Morgan! So I used a tofu press on my tofu which is more efficient at removing water than just using towels and a plate or can. I think that the cornstarch stuck to the bottom of my cast-iron pan which contributed to the problem. What kind of pan did you use? Perhaps the recipe should recommend a particular pan type.
Hi! Have you tried draining your tofu before baking it? All that is required to do so is putting your tofu under some weight, I like to stack heavy books on top of a cutting board and then place it on my tofu. This will help! Also I recommend silicon baking sheets, they are reusable and almost nothing will stick to it. The draining should help your tofu crisp up, it has always worked for me!
Lisa T says
Great flavor but WAY too much spice! (and we live in Texas, so used to strong spice) Next time we will try half the chili sauce.
I've done this twice now and I don't know what gochujang paste you used but the first time we used 1/2 cup and our faces just straight up melted lol, I've never been so sweaty in my life. I liked the flavors so the second time I took maybe 1.5tbsp and it was a lot more pleasant, still spicy. Great recipe.
I have made these so many times and they are delicious! If you have the time, I suggest freezing the tofu first. I usually slice it into slabs, press it, and then freeze it for at least 24 hours (up to a month). Then I thaw, press again, and fry. It really gives it a more chewy texture and allows it to absorb the sauce better.
Barbara S says
Can this recipe be made several days ahead and put together when ready to serve. Thank you for your response.
Hi Barbara! The tofu won't be crispy if made in advance, unfortunately. It tends to soften when refrigerated.
Dumb question. You clearly state that you're using gochujang (paste) just to clarify I'm buying actual paste and not sauce correct? Thank you! These look amazing and I'm so excited to try them 🙂
This. Was. Delicious.
I made it tonight and bought paste, not sauce. I used 1/4c versus 1/2c because of previous comments and it was the perfect amount of heat. So yummy, thanks for sharing!!
WOW. My favourite recipe in a LONG time.
My experience: the tofu took 10+ mins to get crispy and brown.
My no-go vegetable is cucumber. I subbed with zucchini.
I had no cabbage so did 1cup (instead of 1/2) of julienned carrot and added spinach.
I also used hard shell tacos, and subbed sriracha instead of the korean hot sauce listed, used just under 1/2 cup.
10/10 thank you!! I ate 4 and was STUFFED by the third but had to have the 4th it was so yummy.
I'm so glad to hear it, Kalina!! And your substitutions sound great 🙂
I made this recipe tonight after seeing a recommendation for it on a Facebook group. These tacos were awesome! My husband took one bite and started rolling his eyes in joy. Your recipe goes into our "keeper" file. Thank you!
I am so glad to hear that you and your husband enjoyed them so much, Tammy!!
This was AHmazing! It is definitely a keeper. I didn’t use as much Korean sauce and it was still so flavorful. The tofu crisped right up! I made sure to press that water out real good, for a couple hours. Thank you for sharing this with us.
I wish I had read the comments before making this as 1/2 cup of the chili sauce was way too much. Next time I’ll just use a 1/4 cup but this is definitely a recipe worth keeping and making again.
These were delicious, but like the previous comments stated, SO spicy!! I got one taco down before I had to give up, and I’m a fan of spice. I’ll try the recipe again, but with half...maybe a forth of the chili paste. The cucumbers and cabbage were great.
I’ve made this twice now and I absolutely love it. Yes, it is SPICY. And I’m a baby when it comes to spice but I power through it because I love these so much. My husband loves spice so he thinks the heat level is perfection. I add red onion and cilantro to my toppings and I char my tortillas over a flame before serving. Absolutely delicious.
Absolutely amazing!! I had to make a second batch the same day.
Would this recipe work with veggie crumbles?
This looks so good! What a great way to spice up a plant-based supper!
Thanks for sharing! Does the seasoned tofu keep long?
Lily Swan says
These tacos were amazing! I totally recommend making this.
Thank you so much for sharing- great balance of sweet & spicy. Plus, super user friendly.
I made these last night for my boyfriend and I. They’re beautiful in presentation and absolutely delicious. I love all the colors and the smells that emanated from my wok. Plus, I’d never cooked tofu before and this was a fantastic way to start. However, BEWARE of the spice. It will surprise you. Enjoy these awesome, flavorful tacos but maybe be prepared to have some ice cream for dessert!
Wish I had read the comments. 1/2 cup of gochujang was way too much! SOOO SPICY. Tried to course-correct after but it didn't quite work. Still tasty and would make again but with half the gochujang,
I made this last night and already can’t wait to make it again. It had the perfect amount of heat from the sauce and coolness from the cucumbers. I used corn tortillas and it was perfect
I recently moved across the country and I miss my grandmother's Korean food from back home! I'm eager to find all the Korean vegan goodies that I can, thank you for this!
Amazing! Did it as a bowl on rice instead of tacos. Didn’t have the Korean paste and only realized when it was time to cook the sauce so I subbed in some hoisin, sweet chilli and siracha and turned out great.
Kayla H says
Used 1 tbsp of the gochujang paste and it was perfect. But the tofu was way too sweet for me. Will reduce 1/2 cup to 2 tbsp next time. But still pretty good.
These were amazing!! Will definitely make again.
Jess Smith says
So tasty. The crispy tofu was really good on its own but pairing it with the slaw and cucumbers made for a fresh and delicious dinner. I reduced the chili paste to one heaping tbsp - which was about right for us as my kids aren’t huge fans of spice. The kids aren’t usually onboard when I serve a totally plant based dinner but loved this one! Will definitely make again
THE BEST! I serve this to all my tofu-weary friends and they love it! The flavor combo in this recipe is powerful and leaves you wanting more. I can't get enough of this sweet-spicy and tangy tofu taco <3
I am not a vegetarian but we try to eat predominantly meatless meals. I’m usually disappointed in vegetarian recipes that try to sub tofu for meat, BUT this was phenomenal. I knew that was too much gochujang for me so I reduced to 1/4 cup. Still too hot for me but my husband thought it was perfect. Might try 1/8 cup next time. I put a very thin layer of oil in a heavy nonstick pan and added a bit more about 3/4 of the way through. Took about 12 minutes to get really crispy and browned. The citrusy slaw with the sweet pickles and spicy tofu was a wonderful combination! I will be doing this several times a month. Bonus, I am going to sub doing tofu like this for some of my other ground beef recipes.
Oh forgot to say, I will cut the sauce in half next time. Wayyy too much left over.
Spicy but healthy and good. My Mexican partner liked it. I’d probably make it again if I can tone down the heat. We stopped at two for fear of later….