This chilli oil tofu is a product of my newfound love for these chilli oil noodles. First, I made those noodles. Next, I made the sauce with some tofu noodles that I found at KFL supermarket in Springvale. Which brings us to this chilli oil tofu recipe (which is a similar to this sweet and sticky ginger tofu recipe).
Chilli oil tofu that is FODMAP friendly and vegan
I had some crispy tofu I needed to use imminently, so I figured this sauce might jazz it up. Correct! So easy with such a high flavour payoff – this is the sauce I’lll have in my weeknight rotation moving forward. It’s FODMAP friendly, gluten/grain free and absolutely delicious. It can also be made sesame and nut free with ease, which I will go into below.
This chilli oil tofu comes together quickly, particularly if you use store bought crispy tofu. I also like to make my own: I have a recipe here.
The dish uses chilli flakes, ginger, spring onion greens, sesame seeds and seasoning sauces to pack a punch flavour wise. It is made without any onion or garlic, and gluten free as well. A delicious, quick and easy low FODMAP vegan dinner.
FODMAP notes and substitution options
Interestingly, Korean chilli flakes have a higher FODMAP content than regular chilli flakes. 2 teaspoons contain moderate amounts of fructose. If you have no issues with chilli, go ahead and use 2 teaspoons of Korean chilli flakes. If not, I have some suggestions below on how to cater these FODMAP-friendly chilli oil noodles to every chilli preference.
100g of firm tofu per serve is deemed a green light portion by Monash. Personally, I find I can handle a little more, but that’s just me. For 100g portion, divide the tofu into 4.5/5 serves.
Notes on FODMAP content of chilli and chilli flakes
I use and love Korean chilli flakes. They are milder than regular flakes, fruitier, and have a lovely bright red colour, even after adding the sizzling oil. I bought a big packet (1kg) when I was at an Asian grocer and they have lasted me over a year, with plenty left. I daresay you could also buy them online.
Interestingly, Korean chilli flakes have a higher FODMAP content than regular chilli flakes. 2 teaspoons contain moderate amounts of fructose. If you have no issues with chilli/fructose, go ahead and use 2 teaspoons of Korean chilli flakes. If not, I have some suggestions below on how to cater these FODMAP-friendly chilli oil noodles to every chilli preference.
Firstly, you can use regular chilli flakes. They are hotter than Korean chilli flakes, so you will need to add according to your taste. You can finish with some paprika for colour if you like – chilli flakes tend to make a muddier brown oil when compared to Korean chilli flakes.
Secondly, you can add 1 teaspoon Korean chilli flakes and a good extra grating of fresh ginger. I love adding ginger to these noodles because I think it adds a dimension that is missing without garlic. Raw ginger also adds a bit of heat, which will help balance out the lack thereof.
Another ingredient I like to add is pepper, whether that is Sichuan or regular. Sichuan has a numbing, spicy quality that is really delicious and unique. If you don’t have Sichuan, regular cracked pepper is great too.
Ingredient notes for your low FODMAP chilli oil tofu
Black rice vinegar has a sweet, almost watered down balsamic vinegar taste without as strong of an acidic tang. It’s a lovely ingredient here and lends just a bit of acid without being overbearing. You can use white rice vinegar if you don’t have it, but I recommend adding 1/2 teaspoon at first and building up if you like it more acidic.
For colour, I highly recommend using dark soy sauce. In Australia, Ayam brand makes gluten free dark soy sauce. You also also use Tamari, but your noodles might have a different colour.
Interestingly, their website suggests that dark soy is less salty than regular soy. I was under the impression it was saltier! But a quick Google tells me I have been living a lie. So, if you plan to use Tamari instead of dark soy sauce, use less than the recipe specifies.
Recipe tips for your chilli oil tofu
The aim of the sauce is to have the oil hot enough that is sizzles on impact and melds the flavours. I find there is less risk of burning the chilli flakes here than when making chilli oil. Because there are other ingredients in the bowl (like spring onion greens) to soften the heat. That said, the oil really only needs a minute or two to get screaming hot (particularly on a gas stove). I recommend using a frypan to cook the oil, because you will return the sauce to the frypan at the end. This makes it a one pan tofu.
Regular chilli flakes will create a muddier coloured sauce than Korean chilli flakes. The colour won’t affect the flavour too much, but they’re spicier so make sure you add them to taste.
I love ginger, a lot. In the absence of onion and garlic, I think it really delivers on flavour. I add a lot of ginger to this dish – in the sauce, raw over the tofu and raw into the rice. I personally don’t think it’s overpowering, and I got the stamp of approval from my ginger apathetic sister. Add to taste if you’re not into ginger, though.
More low FODMAP vegan dinner recipes
- Vegan bolognese (which uses tofu as an undetectable mince substitute)
- Vegan lasagne (as above)
- Tofu larb
- Crispy fried miso tofu with broccolini and furikake (a sesame and nori seasoning)
- Salt and pepper tofu with a crispy salad and ginger satay
- FODMAP friendly tofu hummus
Chilli oil tofu (FODMAP friendly, vegan)
For the chilli oil tofu:
- 450-500 g firm tofu cut into small bite sized cubes
- 3 teaspoons Korean chilli flakes see notes
- 3 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1/3 – 1/2 bunch spring onion greens chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- Freshly cracked pepper Sichuan, regular or white
- 4 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
- 2-3 tablespoons gluten free dark soy sauce (use less for Tamari)
- 1 tablespoon black rice vinegar or white rice vinegar to taste
- 2-3 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
- salt to taste (add salt only if necessary)
- 2 teaspoons natural peanut butter natural (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cornflour or potato starch (optional)
To serve (for 5-6 people, optional)
- 1 1/2 cups white rice cooked
- Lightly cooked greens I use the remaining spring onion greens, 1-2 bunches Pak or Bok choi, 1 bunch broccolini, 250g green beans, small handful of edamame seasoned and finished with toasted sesame oil
- Place the chilli flakes, ginger, spring onion greens and pepper in a heatproof bowl. Stir them up, then arrange them into a small pile (this makes it easier for the small quantity of oil to interact with all the ingredients).
- In a medium frypan over a medium heat, heat the oil until it’s really hot and shimmering, about 2 minutes on a gas stove. Carefully pour this hot oil over the chilli mixture. It should sizzle up and make the oil lovely and fragrant. If you’re using Korean chilli flakes, it should also take on a lovely red colour.
- Add the dark soy sauce, honey or maple and black rice vinegar. Stir to combine, then taste and adjust to your liking.
- If you’re using it, add the peanut butter or tahini and stir to combine.
- Add the corn starch and mix to combine, then add the tofu cubes and stir to coat.
- Return the tofu and all the sauce to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the tofu is heated through and the sauce thickened. Add a splash of water if the sauce gets too thick at any point. Plate up and serve.