Japanese-style smoky chilli tofu

This silky smooth tofu may just convince you to go meat-free.

  • 35 mins preparation
  • Serves 4
  • Print


  • 2 fresh long red chillies (see tips)
  • 3 teaspoons black rice (see tips)
  • 3 cups (750ml) salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 1½ tablespoons tamari
  • 1 strip orange rind
  • 1 litre (4 cups) rice bran oil
  • 2 x300g blocks extra soft silken tofu
  • 1 cup (180g) rice flour
  • 1 green onion (scallion), sliced thinly
  • 8 sprigs fresh coriander (cilantro)


  • 1
    Heat a flat grill plate (or barbecue plate) over medium-high heat. Grill chillies for 3½ minutes on each side, covered with an upturned baking dish to keep the smoke in. Cool; slice thinly.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, place rice on grill plate; cook, stirring, for 50 seconds or until rice is cracked. Pound rice in a mortar and pestle until finely ground (or process in a small food processor).
  • 3
    Place stock in a medium saucepan with cinnamon, star anise, tamari and rind; bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 5 minutes.
  • 4
    Heat oil in a deep medium frying pan over high heat until hot. Drain tofu; pat dry. Cut each block of tofu into six cubes. Toss tofu in flour; shake off excess. Season tofu. Use a slotted spoon to lower tofu into oil; fry, in batches, for 1 minute or until golden. Remove from pan with slotted spoon; drain on paper towel.
  • 5
    Divide broth among four bowls; place fried tofu in the centre carefully, as it will be soft. Sprinkle with ground rice; top with chilli, green onion and coriander. Serve immediately.


For a milder broth, remove the seeds and membranes from the chillies, or use 1 chilli only. You can use any rice for this recipe.

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