Sizzling Tofu is a delicious way to enjoy the bold flavors of sisig in vegetarian form. Made with crisp-fried tofu, chili peppers, and mayonnaise, it’s creamy, spicy, and tasty!
I am in the Philippines right now to spend the holidays with my mom, and it’s been a happy vacation so far. Along with spending quality time with her, I’ve been making regular rounds of my favorite Filipino restaurants, and that, of course, means frequent visits to Max’s.
Along with their iconic fried chicken, I’ve been trying out new items on their menu, and I have to say, their sizzling tofu is my favorite. It’s creamy and spicy with tons of texture and flavor; what’s not to love?
This vegetarian sisig is not only delicious, but it’s also easy to make and budget-friendly with a simple list of ingredients. The seasonings are similar to my bangus sisig recipe but have added richness from a few dollops of mayo.
Tofu Sisig Ingredients
- Butter or oil-for sauteing
- Onions and garlic-these aromatics add texture and flavor
- Calamansi juice-to cut through the richness of the mayo and add a hint of tangy flavor
- Knorr seasoning sauce-for umami flavor; you can substitute two tablespoons of soy sauce or oyster sauce if you like
- Tofu-use firm tofu and not the soft or silken variety
- Bell peppers-use a mix of red and green for a more festive color
- Chili Peppers-Thai chili peppers (siling labuyo) and finger chili peppers (siling haba) to add a kick of spice
- Mayonnaise-for creaminess; add at the last minute of cook time to prevent from getting too greasy
How to Cook Crispy Tofu
Since the tofu is the star of the show, the success of the dish is cooking the tofu right.
- To ensure a nice crisp, drain the tofu well of the packing liquid. Wrap the tofu block with a thick layer of paper towels, set it over a wire rack, and weigh down with a saucer or bowl for about 15 to 20 minutes to extract moisture.
- Cut in uniform size to ensure even cooking.
- If pan-frying, swirl oil to coat the bottom of the pan thoroughly. Heat until oil begins to shimmer and add tofu pieces in a single layer. Allow to lightly brown before turning to prevent tofu from falling apart.
- If deep-frying, make sure the frying oil is of proper temperature to prevent tofu from sticking and absorbing too much grease. Oil should be hot, but not smoking, or tofu will burn before crisping. Use enough oil, so the tofu floats in the oil. Do not overcrowd the pan and allow enough room to toss the tofu in the oil to evenly brown easily.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan and drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet to catch oil drips.
How to Serve Sizzling Tofu
Sizzling tofu sisig is hearty and filling on its own, but also makes a great pulutan (appetizer) with your favorite hard drinks or as the main dish with steamed rice.
Serve on a preheated cast-iron skillet or sizzling platter and garnish with sliced chili peppers. Unfortunately, due to the use of mayonnaise and the loss of texture over time, this vegetarian sisig doesn’t reheat well and is best enjoyed freshly-cooked.
- 2 packages (12 ounces each) firm tofu
- canola oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 1 small green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
- 3 finger chili peppers (siling haba)
- 2 Thai chili peppers
- 1/4 cup calamansi juice
- 1/4 cup Knorr seasoning sauce
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- In a wide pan over medium heat about 2-inches deep of oil until hot but not smoking.
- Add tofu in batches and cook, turning as needed, until golden and crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
- In a skillet over medium heat, heat about 1 tablespoon butter. Add onions and garlic and cook until slightly softened.
- Add bell peppers and chili peppers and cook, stirring regularly, until tender-crisp.
- Add calamansi juice and seasoning sauce. Simmer until slightly reduced.
- Add fried tofu cubes and mayonnaise and toss for about 1 minute or just until evenly coated and heated through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and transfer to a sizzling plate. Garnish with chopped chili peppers and serve immediately.
- To pan-fry instead of deep-frying, add about 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to fully coat the bottom of the pan. Heat until oil begins to shimmer but not smoking. Add tofu in a single layer and cook until it begins to crisp, then turn to brown other side. WAIT until tofu begins to brown before turning or they will stick to pan and fall apart. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.