September 04, 2022


This one is a doozy. I have to admit that while this recipe sounded absolutely delicious, I just hadn't made it because there are so many steps and so many dishes to clean. I love spicy food and today, I made time for ME--I really needed it. So, I spent a couple of hours(!) in the kitchen this evening, taking my time rather than rushing to get dinner ready for the family. (Jerry and Noah were working, and Eli had his girlfriend over--they usually get Qdoba.)

So, I finally decided to tackle this recipe without feeling rushed or pressured. I prepped everything before I actually started cooking, and I'm glad I did that. It was hard to keep track of all the ingredients and steps!

The recipe I chose to review is Firecracker Tofu from Vegan Travel Eats (I'll link to it again at the end of the post).

The ingredients: tofu, cornstarch, soy sauce, vegan mayo, soy milk, black pepper, light brown sugar, Franks Red Hot sauce, vegan butter, vegan Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, apple cider vinegar, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. (Not mentioned in the ingredients list is oil for frying)

Whenever I use Worcestershire sauce, I can't help but think of this meme:

It's not even that funny, but I laugh every time!

Anyway, back to the recipe. This is a long one with lots of pictures.

First, I put some jasmine rice in the rice cooker so that it would be done when the tofu was ready.

I'd already pressed the tofu, so I just took that out of the fridge. I bought this tofu press on Amazon (affiliate link) because we eat so much tofu now and the press is so much more convenient than trying to use towels and heavy objects to press it. I cut the tofu into cubes and tossed with soy sauce and black pepper before setting it aside.

Then I mixed the Worcestershire, garlic powder, vinegar, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes in a little bowl to set aside.

Next, in a small sauce pan, I added the brown sugar, vegan butter, and and Franks Red Hot, cooking over medium heat until the butter was melted and brown sugar dissolved. 

Turn off heat, add the previous mixture to the pan, and then set the pan aside (that whole mixture makes up the Firecracker sauce).

Next, I got out two bowls: in one, I added the cornstarch; in the other, I combined the vegan mayo and soy milk.

From there, the recipe says to take a piece of tofu, toss it in the cornstarch, then dip it into the mayo mixture and set it on a clean plate. Repeat for all of the pieces of tofu. While I usually follow the recipe as written, I just couldn't fathom doing it one piece of tofu at a time. So I did a small handful at a time.

Those look like cookie dough bites in vanilla pudding or something, haha.

Once all of the pieces of tofu are coated (I forgot to take a pic), you heat a large pan and add 1/4 cup of oil. That seemed like a LOT of oil to me! If it had been on the ingredients list, I'm not sure I would have even made the recipe--I don't like to fry things in that much oil. But still, I followed the recipe. Once the oil is hot, you add the tofu pieces.

After cooking for a couple of minutes, you just stir them around to brown them a bit.

Then, you spray a baking pan with cooking spray and transfer the browned tofu to the pan. I cringed a little at the amount of oil in the pan and was tempted to lay paper towels down to absorb it, but I just used a slotted spatula and left as much oil in the frying pan as I could. You can see it's still pretty oily on the baking sheet.

After that, you pour the sauce over the tofu and stir it around to coat all the pieces.

Then, finally... FINALLY... I put it in the oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, I took it out to stir it up and I was a little shocked--it looked SO burnt to the pan that I thought the sauce would never come off.

It actually didn't stick like I thought it would (probably because of all the oil!) so I tossed it around with the spatula and stuck it back in the oven.

I baked it another 13 minutes (the recipe said 10-15, so I just chose 13). When I pulled it out, again, I was taken aback by how burnt the sauce looked in the pan. I got a phone call *right* when the timer had gone off, so I forgot to take a picture before stirring--but I thought for sure the pan was destroyed. After giving it a stir, I could see it wasn't burnt--it was very, very sticky, though.

I tasted a piece and expected firecrackers to go off in my mouth, but I found it to be a little bland--which was a bummer. However, I added a little salt and stirred it up again, and that made all the difference! It was delicious. I put it over some jasmine rice in a bowl and it looked SO good.

The tofu was a little softer than I normally make it, but I think that may be because of the reduced baking time. I usually bake it for about 50 minutes to get a chewier texture. However, the texture of it was perfect for this dish. 

It was a little spicy, but not quite as spicy as I would have preferred. Next time, I'd add extra crushed red pepper flakes.

The little browned/burnt bits were the best part!

I would absolutely cut down the number of steps and dishes when making this again. For instance, instead of putting cornstarch in a separate bowl, I'd just add it right to the bowl with the tofu and toss it all to coat. I think you could probably skip the mayo mixture, too, and just cook it with the cornstarch. (I've done that before and the result was very similar.) There are a few other ways I could cut down on the steps and dishes, so I'd definitely do that next time.

And there will definitely be a next time! I gave a piece to Eli and his girlfriend to try and they both liked it. Eli said he would even eat a bowl of it for dinner--I couldn't believe it. I made a big bowl for Jerry to eat tomorrow; I'm sure he'll love it. I have a feeling Noah will like it, too--I'll ask him to try it when he gets home.

Anyway, all of the steps and dirty dishes were worth it. If I'd been in a rush, I would have been totally overwhelmed (which is the theme of my mood lately--I've been so overwhelmed in a dozen different directions). Taking my time and enjoying the process in a quiet house was actually really nice. And I got a delicious dinner out of it!

Now I have a baking sheet soaking in my sink. I'll save that for the morning ;)

You can find the full recipe on Vegan Travel Eats.


  1. Looks so good! Also, look for Dawn Powerwash at your grocery store. It's what saves my pans when I have recipes like this! Just spray in on your pan, wait a few minutes, wipe off without water, and then you can wash and rinse like normal. It's a lifesaver!

  2. WOW! This looks so good. Sorry if I missed it, but do you ever post a recipe you've modified? I mean, the Katie version of the recipe? I might get Ed to try this one, but only with your modified steps and that in a recipe format would be great. But that might be extra work for you. Just looks so yummy.


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

Featured Posts

Blog Archive