The other day I got a craving for that drooly-delicious pan-fried tofu that I made a couple months ago and I knew I had to make more. But, instead of making the exact same dish, I decided to come up with a new flavor combo for my bowl. I decided to go with a tropical theme by combining my favorite savory coconut rice with mangoes, avocados, and a honey lime glaze for the tofu. The resulting Mango Coconut Tofu Bowls are truly epic. EPIC.
Don’t Break the Bank with Mango Coconut Tofu Bowls
There are probably three ingredients that can make or break your budget with this recipe, so watch these closely: avocados, mangoes, and coconut milk. I happened to be at Winn Dixie this week (not my usual store) and saw that they had cans of coconut milk for only $1.50 each. That’s a good $0.75 less than my normal store, so I grabbed one (still more than Trader Joe’s, but the New Orleans TJ has not opened yet). Avocados have been priced great lately (about $1 each), but I kind of got hit on the mangoes at $1.69 each. Two out of three isn’t bad, though, and the total price for the bowl is still relatively low thanks to the inexpensive rice and tofu.
If you’re not into mango or can’t get them in your area, pineapple makes a great substitution in this dish.
Mango Coconut Tofu Bowls
SAVORY COCONUT RICE
- 1.5 cups uncooked jasmine or basmati rice ($0.66)
- 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.08)
- 3/4 tsp salt ($0.03)
- 13.5 oz. can coconut milk ($1.50)
- 1 cup water ($0.00)
HONEY LIME GLAZE
- 1 fresh lime ($0.25)
- 1/4 cup honey ($0.48)
- 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.03)
- 1 tsp corn starch ($0.04)
PAN FRIED TOFU
- 14 oz. package firm or extra firm tofu ($1.99)
- Pinch of salt ($0.02)
- 2 Tbsp corn starch ($0.08)
- 2 Tbsp neutral oil for frying ($0.04)
- 1 mango ($1.69)
- 1 avocado, sliced ($1.00)
- 2-3 green onions, sliced ($0.20)
- Pinch of red pepper flakes ($0.02)
- Handful fresh cilantro ($0.10)
- Begin by pressing the tofu. Remove the tofu from the package, draining away all moisture. Wrap the tofu in a clean, lint-free dish towel or a few layers of paper towel. Place the wrapped tofu between two plates and place something heavy on top (cast iron pan or pot full of water). Let the tofu press for at least 30 minutes.
- To make the Savory Coconut Rice, combine the uncooked rice, minced garlic, salt, coconut milk, and water in a medium pot. Place a lid on the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the pot sit, undisturbed, for 10 more minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and set aside.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the honey lime glaze. Use a zester, microplane, or small-holed cheese grater to remove the thin layer of green zest from the lime. Squeeze the juice from the lime into a separate bowl (you'll need about 1/4 cup juice). Combine the juice with 1/2 tsp of the zest, honey, soy sauce, and corn starch in a bowl. Stir until the corn starch and honey are dissolved.
- After the tofu has been pressed, cut it into 1/2 inch cubes. Blot with a paper towel if needed to make sure the surface is dry. Season the tofu with a pinch of salt. Sprinkle the corn starch over top and gently toss until all the pieces are well coated.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the tofu and fry on until golden brown on each side (about 3 minutes each side). Remove the fried tofu from the pan and turn the heat down to low. While the tofu fries, cut the mango into cubes.
- Give the prepared glaze a quick stir, then add it to the skillet. Allow the glaze to begin to simmer, at which point it will thicken. Once thickened, turn the heat off and add the fried tofu and cubed mango. Toss to coat in the glaze.
- To build the bowls, place about one cup of the savory coconut rice in the bottom of each bowl, then top with a scoop of the mango and tofu. Add sliced green onions, sliced avocado, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a few sprigs of cilantro on top of each bowl.
Step by Step Photos
Start with one 14oz. package of tofu, either firm or extra-firm. I decided I liked the slightly softer texture of firm as opposed to extra firm. Drain the water from the package.
Press the excess moisture out of the tofu for at least 30 minutes. Wrap the block of tofu in a clean, lint-free towel or a couple layers of paper towel. Place the wrapped tofu between two plates, then set something heavy on top (I used a cast iron skillet this time).
While the tofu is pressing, start the coconut rice. In a medium pot combine 1.5 cups of uncooked jasmine or basmati rice, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1 clove of garlic, minced. Add a 13.5oz. can of coconut milk (full fat or lite) and one cup of water. Stir briefly to combine.
Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit for an additional 10 minutes without disturbing. Finally, take the lid off and fluff with a fork. Replace the lid to keep the rice warm and set it aside.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the honey lime glaze. Use a microplane, zester, or small-holed cheese grater to remove the zest from the lime. Once the zest is removed, juice the lime into a separate bowl. You’ll need about 1/4 cup of juice. To help maximize the juice, roll and press the lime on the counter for a few seconds before cutting it open. That will help soften the lime and yield more juice.
Combine the 1/4 cup lime juice, 1/2 tsp of the zest, 1/4 cup honey, 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce, and 1 tsp corn starch in a bowl. Stir until the corn starch and honey are dissolved.
Cut the mango into cubes. For a detailed tutorial on how to do this, watch this video.
Once the tofu has been pressed, cut it into 1/2 inch cubes. Pat the tofu dry with a paper towel, if needed. Season the tofu with a pinch of salt, then sprinkle with 2 Tbsp corn starch. Gently toss the cubes until they’re coated in corn starch.
Heat 2 Tbsp neutral oil (corn, peanut, vegetable, canola, etc.) in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu cubes and fry until golden brown on each side (about 3 minutes each side). Remove the fried tofu from the skillet and turn the heat down to low.
Give the prepared glaze a quick stir, then pour it into the empty skillet. Allow it to come to a simmer, at which point it will thicken into a shiny glaze. Once thickened, add the tofu back along with the cubed mango. Toss to coat in the glaze.
Now all the components are made and it’s time to build the bowls! Start with about one cup of the coconut rice, then add 1/4 of the tofu & mango mixture. Add a few slices of the avocado, a pinch of red pepper flakes, some sliced green onions, and a few sprigs of fresh cilantro. DONE! :D
And, you know, if you’re into it you can always add a splash of sriracha to your Mango Coconut Tofu Bowl. ;)