Impress your guests with this vegan coconut crusted tofu recipe. Extra firm tofu pieces marinated in a soy sauce mixture then coated in shredded coconut and fried until crispy make this a delicious dinner. Have this filling dinner ready in less than 1 hour.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Full of plant based protein. Due to the extra-firm tofu, this easy recipe has 15 grams of protein per serving! Stay full all evening after eating this crispy coconut tofu recipe.
- Perfect for flexitarians. This recipe is not only vegan friendly, but also omnivore friendly! Because it is very similar to coconut shrimp with its flavor and texture, it is a great meal for vegan curious or flexitarians! If you like other vegan recipes that can be enjoyed by all, try my lemon garlic pasta or my buffalo chickpea smash!
- So much flavor. Cooking with soy sauce, coconut, and ground ginger creates the best flavored crispy tofu that rivals your favorite take out! Place it on top of rice or a cubed sweet potato or serve with green beans, bok choy or sliced red bell pepper. You can also dunk it into sweet chili sauce!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITIONS
- Extra Firm Tofu. Extra firm tofu works best for this recipe. I personally love the one with added protein from Trader Joe's, but any tofu brand will work. Extra firm tofu will be best when coating the tofu pieces and for frying. I highly recommend freezing your tofu before you use it then allowing it to thaw for 24-48 hours beforehand. This will make it very firm and there will be no need for a tofu press. You can find tofu in the refrigerator section of the grocery store - usually near the organic food or produce section.
- Liquid Aminos. Whether you prefer soy sauce, liquid aminos, tamari or coconut aminos, any will work for this recipe. Just note, coconut aminos can sometimes be sweeter so you may want to adjust the sugar added.
- Brown Sugar. Brown sugar sweetens up the marinate and adds a nice contrast to the salty liquid aminos! You can also use coconut sugar.
- Plant Based Milk. You can use any plant based milk for this recipe, but be sure it is unflavored. Vanilla flavored milk will cause this recipe to be too sweet.
- Ground Flaxseed. Ground flaxseed takes the place of eggs in the batter mixture and will help bind the batter to the coconut mixture.
- Coconut Shreds-Shredded coconut flakes gives this recipe is coconut flavor! I prefer to use unsweetened.
- Corn starch. Corn starch helps the tofu get extra crispy! Arrowroot powder can be used in its place.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1. Press + cut the tofu block. I recommend freeing the tofu then allowing it to thaw for 48 hours before using. Then, when you are ready to use it, give it a good squeeze. If you do not have time to do this, press the tofu with a tofu press or place it under some books with a clean towel on top of it. You will want to press it until most of the moisture is removed. Once it is removed, cut the tofu into little cubes, about ½ inch big.
Step 2. Begin making your marinade by mixing the liquid aminos, brown sugar, ground ginger, apple cider vinegar and water together in a large bowl.
Step 3. Marinate the tofu cubes. Add the tofu cubes to the bowl and gently fold them into the marinate, ensuring all are coated with the marinate. You can also place the tofu and marinade in a ziplock bag and mix. Marinate for 25 minutes in the refrigerator.
Step 4. Make the batter. While the tofu is marinating begin making your batter. Make the batter in a large tupper-ware bowl or large bowl. Mix together the milk, ground flaxseed, all purpose flour and seasonings.
Step 5. Make the coating. Once the batter is done, and while the tofu is still marinating, combine the coconut, panko breadcrumbs and cornstarch in a large bowl and mix until fully combined.
Step 6. Add the tofu to the batter. Once the tofu is done marinating, add it to the batter, coating each piece. You may need to do this in rounds.
Step 7. Add the tofu to the crust. Once you remove the tofu from the batter, place it into the crust mixture and gently mix it until it is coated with coconut.
Step 8. Fry the tofu. Add sesame oil or avocado oil to a non-stick frying pan or cast iron pan and heat on medium-high heat. Once the oil is extremely hot, place each piece of tofu into it, frying it on each side until it is crispy and golden brown, approximately 3 minutes on each side.
Step 9. Remove excess oil. Remove any excess oil from the tofu by placing it directly on 2-3 paper towels.
Step 10. Serve! I like to eat mine on top of a bed of jasmine rice, with sesame seeds, lime zest and green onion with dipping sauce (chili garlic sauce is my fav!)
STORAGE + REHEATING
Because is it fried, I recommend eating the coconut crusted tofu right away. If you need to store it, store it in an air-tight container for up to 2 days.
When re-heating, place on a skillet with oil and warm each side for 1-2 minutes or place in the air fryer on 350 for 2-3 minutes. You can also place it in the microwave, but be careful - it may lose crispness!
TIME SAVING HACKS
Save time by marinating the tofu ahead of time! The tofu can sit in the marinate for up to 24 hours. Once you are ready to make it, mix together the batter and coconut crust then add the tofu and fry!
Extra firm tofu will work best for this crispy coconut tofu. It will fry well in the skillet and will give that chewy, crispy bite!
I like to serve mine over rice with veggies on the side, but you can eat it any way you like! Some like to dip it in sweet chili sauce, while others stuff it into tacos.
- Freeze your tofu! Freezing your tofu transforms it to become firmer, tastier and more importantly, chewier. Skip the press and freeze it then give it a good squeeze once it thaws!
- Use high-heat cooking oil. Because the tofu needs to be fried, using high heat cooking oil will prevent any burning of the coconut shreds. I like to use avocado oil!
Crispy Vegan Coconut Crusted Tofu Recipe (Easy)
- 14 oz Block of Extra Firm Tofu
- ½ cup liquid aminos (soy sauce, coconut aminos)
- 3 tbsp Brown Sugar or Coconut Sugar
- ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- ½ cup Water
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds optional
- 1 cup plain Plant Based Milk
- 1 tbsp Ground Flaxseed
- ⅔ cup All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
- Pinch Salt and Pepper
- ½ cup Coconut Shreds/Flakes
- ½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- ¼ Cup Cornstarch
- ¼ cup of avocado oil or neutral frying oil more may be needed.
- For best results, freeze your tofu then remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw for 48 hours. If this is not an option, press and dry your tofu.
- Cut your tofu into ¼ inch cubes. Try to make them as even as possible.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk all of your marinade ingredients together.
- Gently fold your tofu cubes into the bowl until they are well coated. Cover your bowl and allow to sit for 25 minutes.
- When the tofu is just about done marinating, begin making your batter. In a clean, large bowl or Tupperware container, add in all of your batter and whisk until combined.
- If you are using a bowl, gently fold in the marinated tofu cubes until they are well coated with the batter. If you are using a Tupperware container, place the lid on securely then gently shake until your tofu is coated.
Coconut Crust Ingredients
- While the tofu is marinating, make your coconut crust. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or Tupperware container with a lid.
- Remove the battered tofu from the batter and shake it gently to remove any excess batter.
- Place approx. ⅓ of the battered tofu into the bowl or Tupperware container with the coconut crust and gently shake until all sides are coated.
- Remove the tofu from the container or bowl and place on a separate sheet or paper towel. Repeat until all tofu pieces are coated.
- Add oil to a frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium or high heat.
- Once the oil is heated, place ⅕ of the crusted coconut into the skillet or pan and fry each side until it is golden brown. This will likely take 3 minutes on each side.
- Once it is done frying, place it on a paper towel or a baking sheet with a paper towel below it. This will allow any excess oil to be removed.
- Repeat with all tofu pieces until all are fried.
- Serve alone, with sauce, rice or salsa or inside a taco.
If any of your pieces fall apart while battering or coating them, still use them. They will be smaller, but will crisp well.