Hazelnut-Crusted Sweet Chili Tofu

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Folks either love or hate tofu, and I’m convinced that anyone who hates tofu just hasn’t had it prepared in the right way. And by right way, I mean, treating tofu like a blank canvas. Keeping the painting analogy afloat (for all you artsy types out there)–this dish uses sweet chili sauce as a gesso of sorts, preparing the tofu for its thin, hazelnut crust. This tofu screams flavor and is really hard not to like.

On a totally unrelated note, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who validated my use of Thai tea in my oatmeal :). Damaris at kitchencorners.com actually mentioned that she makes her oatmeal with coconut milk. So… guess what I did this morning??!?!? Yep. I made my oatmeal with 1/2 water, 1/2 light coconut milk, and threw in 5 semi-sweet chocolate chips at the end to make an “almond joy oatmeal!” (Thanks Damaris for the tip!!!). I am totally loving this creative oatmeal kick I’m on. But now, back to the tofu!

Hazelnut-Crusted Sweet Chili Tofu


1 block extra-firm tofu (sliced and pressed)

1/4 cup flour

1/3 cup hazelnuts (finely chopped)

sweet red chili sauce

oil for frying (I used canola)


*Slice tofu into 1/4 inch slices. Place 2-3 paper towels on a plate. Add one layer of tofu slices. Add another layer of paper towels, and repeat until all tofu is layered between paper towels. Place a kitchen towel over the final layer of paper towels and place a heavy pot or pan on top of the kitchen towel. Press tofu for at least an hour, which will create a firmer, heartier texture for the final dish. (see also Guava-Jalapeno Tofu).

*Chop hazelnuts and combine with flour in shallow dish (for dredging). Brush both sides of tofu with sweet red chili sauce. Coat both sides of tofu slices with hazelnut-flour mixture.

*Heat oil over medium heat. Lay coated tofu in oil. Fry on one side until golden brown (approx. 3 minutes). ***Do not touch/play with the tofu, or the coating will come off, and oil will seep into the tofu, and you’ll have a not-so-appetizing mess. :D*** Once the first side is golden brown, flip and fry for another 2-3 minutes. Drain on paper towel (or use your preferred draining method) and serve with sweet chili sauce.

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Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DCโ€™s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantraโ€”love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. Hi! Where do you get the sweet red chili sauce and what is in it? I might make my own out of apricots and red chili sauce, that sounds appealing! I like to make apple pie oatmeal and oatmeal cookie oatmeal! YUM YUM!!!
    I am glad I found your blog, It makes me smile!!

    • Hi Viv,
      I just got the sweet chili sauce from Whole Foods, but you can also probably pick some up from your fav. Chinese restaurant!

  2. What a fun way to prepare tofu! I agree with you – those who say they hate it haven’t had it prepared correctly!

  3. I love tofu but I have my limits. Recently tried a tofu cheesecake and spat out the first mouthful. But this, Oooh… this looks sooo good! What a novel idea to coat it with ground hazelnuts.

  4. This looks really good. I haven’t quite mastered the art of cooking tofu yet, but I keep trying. I like your drying method. I’ll have to try that.

  5. Wow! I’m just starting to enjoy tofu, but I know that if I tried this dish…I would be completely smitten with the stuff. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Wonderful sounding Tofu recipe, looks so nice and crispy. My mouth is watering in anticipation. Thanks so much.

  7. YES! I adore tofu and fried tofu always brings me back to my childhood. My mom always made it with brewer’s yeast so I’ve never tried frying it any other way. I am so excited to try this recipe out! Looks and sounds amazing!


    • Brewers yeast? Wow, that sounds so tasty! I definitely have to try that soon! I’m always looking for new ways to make tofu!

  8. What a great creation! I just love this especially adding the hazel nut to them. Looks so yum..

  9. I’ve never crusted tofu with hazelnut mill before. Very creative!

  10. Constantly learning new ways to use tofu. Not a huge fan, admittedly. But your sweet chilli sauce addition makes this a worthwhile try.

  11. There certainly is not enough tofu in my life right now. I think I need to tell the hubby to buy some the next time he goes shopping so that I can make this. It looks so delicious!

  12. I have never seen tofu that ever interested me slightly until now. This looks good, I mean really good!! Dare I say I will try it? I think I will. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. That looks delicious!Im so excited to try this.I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I’d love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this tofu widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about tofu recipes,Thanks!

  14. This is a totally new way of preparing tofu for me, wow you could do so many variations. Hazelnuts are so good ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. What a great dish! The use of hazlenuts for the crust totally elevates this beyond regular pan-fried tofu. Nice! Theresa

  16. I used to be one of those that didn’t have their tofu prepared properly. I love it now and all the variable ways you can cook it. These look amazing. I would love to try this recipe.

  17. yumm, that looks delicious!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  18. I think that people who don’t like tofu just haven’t had it prepared correctly. It absorbs the flavors from the rest of the dish so it’s only as tasty as the other ingredients.

  19. I have never had tofu prepared properly. Or I bought the crappy kind. This sounds like something that I could handle for sure!

  20. this sounds yummy, I want pas it on to my team members in shape up and go, some of them are trying vegetarian things and I think this perfect for them!

  21. Oh woww..I never made this before! Looks great, and I have feeling that it tasted awesome!:)

  22. Awesome.

    The hazelnuts seems like a magic touch.


  23. I don’t do well with tofu, but you might have changed my mind … I will try this out and see how it goes! Thanks for sharing!

  24. I love tofu and I always am looking for new recipes. I’m going to have to give this a try. It sounds absolutely delicious!

  25. This looks so good! We have never tried using nuts as a coating before. What an excellent idea. We will definitely be trying this out at our house.

  26. Hi Tiffani.. I just made my homemade tofu.. I think I should try your recipe ! ^_^ it looks yummy…

  27. This sounds so yummy! I’ve got to try it. I think I’ll use rice flour : )

  28. I’m totally with you! It depends on whether you had tofu well prepared or not. I tried to make it at home and I just can’t get around to make a good tofu and now I hate eating it at home. Every time I eat out and have the option choose tofu and I love it! I need to try this recipe

  29. Looks like a nice snack ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Couldn’t wait to try this…then realized my food processor is on the blink. Had to chop almonds instead of hazelnuts by hand. Turned out great!

    • Woo hoo! Glad to hear that it works with almonds. A colleague from work tried it with pecans and she said it was great! So, it looks like hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans are all a go! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. You’ve done it!!!! You have made tofu look irresistible! I’ve toyed with trying a recipe now and then, but this is definitely a keeper!!!

    • Liz, I always love your comments! Thanks!!!

  32. Hey Tiffany, I love Tofu but have never seen it done this way. Lovely? Where does this recipe originate from? Asian?? Interesting!

    • I MADE IT UP! ๐Ÿ™‚ It came from my wandering, daydreaming mind, and what I had leftover in my pantry! I’m glad that you find it interesting! It was delish!

  33. You are completely right. Those who hate tofu havenโ€™t had it prepared in the right way. When I first started off on my vegan path [have since turned to the dark side and eat meat 1-3 times a week], I HATED tofu. I was convinced it was gross! This all changed when I had teriyaki tofu steaks for the first time. Guh, are they delicious!

    This recipe looks fantastic! We try to treat tofu as a treat [due to the affect it can have on your hormones]. But when we do have it, we like to have it RIGHT. This recipe is definitely going to be enjoyed in our house. Thanks!

  34. I fall into the “love tofu” camp, and this hazenut crust looks fab! I love the crunchy texture it gives to the pillowy tofu.

  35. This looks so good. Love the contrast in textures!

  36. I love your ideas for getting creative with oatmeal! I can’t wait to try them. Also, your tofu looks great. You definitely need to approach tofu as a blank slate, and it can take on any flavors you want!

  37. I’m not mad about tofu but I would give this a try. The spice and the hazelnut crunchy coating make it sound really appetising.

  38. Okay, yum. I love tofu when others make it, but I have a hard time preparing it as deliciously as home. This looks so terrific, especially with the sweet chili sauce. Bookmarked!

  39. Wow…this sounds so good! Crunchy tofu is delicious, but hazelnuts as well, and chili? I want some of this for dinner! Wonderful recipe!

  40. I need to start working with tofu again. I made it a couple times when I was first diagnosed with an allergy to eggs and then abandoned my efforts. This tofu recipe looks tasty enough to make me want to try again.

  41. Oh my….excellent flavor combination. That looks delicious.

  42. This sounds delicious! I love both tofu and anything with sweet chili sauce, so I think I will give this a try. And you’re so right about tofu being a blank canvas with which so many amazing dishes are possible. This definitely sounds like one!

  43. Holy moly! That looks soooo good! I’ve been totally craving tofu (Yes, I’m a fan in a major way!) lately. Especially with Thai flavors. I need to pick me up some of that sweet chili sauce. My favorite Thai place uses that for their spring rolls and it’s to die for. Must buy some now! :-p Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  44. I’m usually not a tofu person, but this looks amazing!! I love hazelnuts too, so def have to try this recipe.

  45. Oh I just love sweet chile sauce. I bet these are fantastic!

  46. wow..!
    I like tofu, but I’ve never thought of treating it this way.. looks excellent

  47. We’ve just started eating tofu regularly and I love this take on it. Love hazelnuts, love sweet chili sauce, it’s all good!

  48. This sounds like a great Tofu recipe!!! Love the hazelnuts ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. I this tofu looks so good. I’m probably one of those people that hasn’t had good tofu, so I say that I don’t like it. I’ll have to try your recipe. First time on your blog, I’ll be back. I have a granddaughter who is vegan, so I need recipes for her.

    • I definitely hope you do come back Becky!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. This looks delicious. I am one that used to dislike tofu, but then I learned to prepare it correctly. Now I love tofu! ๐Ÿ™‚ This recipe looks awesome. I can’t wait to try it.

  51. I’m in the ‘love tofu’ camp, and this looks fantastic!

  52. i used to hate tofu for quite a while until I ate some at my vegan friend house. you’re right, most of the people that say “I hate tofu” didn’t eat it well prepared.
    love the idea of using thai sauce with it, sounds great.
    thanks for sharing

  53. Ooooh hazelnut! This sounds awesome!

  54. Great idea. They look delicious. Thanks.

  55. Thanks everyone for your great comments! It seems like folks are split 50/50. Some love tofu, others detest it. I swear this tofu tastes delicious! I wouldn’t lie to you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  56. I love tofu. Your tofu looks very delicious, crusted with hazelnuts. I can eat that everyday. Would love to try that. Thanks very much for sharing.

  57. Love this recipe, and absolutely LOVE tofu with sweet chili. I had it for the first time at whole foods, and then realized I could do it myself at home (and also control what went into it).

    So I make my own sweet chili sauce with organic sugar (only a little bit) and fresh chili peppers, chili powder, and a squeeze of some fresh lime. I love your hazelnut idea, and can’t wait to try this one out.

    Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yah! I’m so glad you like this recipe! I had never actually had tofu with sweet chili before, but now I am def. going to look for it at WF! ๐Ÿ˜€

  58. I just realized that I didn’t ever tell you that I made this and it was phenomenal!

  59. Made this this evening, very impressed. Took a bit of practice to get the cooking/flipping ok without scratching the coating off. Also, my flour was poss a bit thickly coating the slices, as I had slight floury aftertaste.
    But loved the contrast of tofu and coating, the chilli sauce is a great condiment.
    Will make again, probably press the tofu a bit longer ( it was my first time!).
    Thanks for posting ๐Ÿ™‚