This fiery Tofu Coconut Curry will take you to the tropics! Tender and crispy pan-fried tofu is paired with a creamy red pepper coconut sauce that’s infused with smoky, sweet, and spicy flavors.
When I say this Tofu Coconut Curry is packed with flavor, I mean packed with flavor. The coconut milk-based sauce is simmered with habanero pepper, fresh ginger, garlic, smoked paprika, and brown sugar—and if that sounds good, let me tell you: it tastes even better!
This sauce is perfect for pairing with tofu, which takes on any flavors you add to it. Think tofu is bland and boring? You won’t after making this recipe!
Best of all, Tofu Coconut Curry comes together in just about 30 minutes from start to finish, so it’s an easy meal for a weeknight dinner. It’s also great for divvying into containers with black beans and rice for a week of meal prep lunches!
Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to pick up to make this Tofu Coconut Curry Recipe.
For the Sauce:
- Butter – Use dairy-free if you want to make this recipe vegan.
- Yellow onion
- Habanero – The habanero is a big player here, and yes, it is spicy! You can use half of a pepper if you like, but I don’t recommend omitting it. For a milder tofu recipe, try my Tofu and Shiitake Coconut Curry Bowls.
- Fresh ginger
- Smoked paprika
- Brown sugar
- Sea salt
- Roasted red peppers
- Full-fat coconut milk – Full-fat coconut milk is thicker and creamier than lite coconut milk, so I recommend sticking with the full-fat variety.
For the Tofu:
- Extra-firm tofu – Here’s what you need to know about how to prepare and cook tofu.
- Avocado oil
- Sea salt
Do you need gloves to cut habanero peppers?
Yes, I highly recommend using thick rubber gloves when cutting the habanero pepper for this recipe. A pepper this hot can irritate your skin, and if you rub your eyes or touch your face with the residue still on your hands, you’ll deeply regret it! Burns from hot peppers are no joke and they can be incredibly painful.
How to Make Tofu Coconut Curry
If you plan on serving this tofu with rice, start it just before you begin cooking the tofu.
Prepare the tofu. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Cook the tofu. Heat the oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook it for 2-3 minutes on each side, until both sides are golden brown and crispy. Season with salt and transfer to a plate.
Sauté the onion. To the same skillet, add the butter and onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onions are softened and translucent.
Make the sauce. Add the habanero, ginger, garlic cloves, paprika, brown sugar, and sea salt to the skillet with the onions. Cook for a minute, or until fragrant, then add the pureed roasted red peppers and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Finish. Season the sauce with additional salt, if needed, and stir in the tofu and cilantro.
How Do You Cook Tofu So It Doesn’t Fall Apart?
When you’re pan-frying the tofu in the skillet, don’t flip it until the bottom is golden brown. Make sure you use enough oil to fully coat the bottom of the pan, and use a cast iron or nonstick skillet if you have one.
Tips for Success
This recipe is pretty straight-forward, but these tips will help make sure it turns out perfect.
- Use the correct tofu. For this recipe, it’s important to buy refrigerated tofu, not shelf-stable silken tofu. Silken tofu is softer and doesn’t have the right texture for this recipe.
- Dry the tofu well. This will keep the oil from spattering when you add the tofu to the pan.
- Make it a meal. Pair Coconut Caribbean Tofu with rice, quinoa, or any other cooked grain that you like or have on hand.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Transfer any leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate them for 4 to 5 days. Tofu coconut curry can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
Can This Recipe Be Frozen?
This recipe freezes well! Place it in a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months. It can be reheated from frozen or thawed in the refrigerator first for faster cooking time.
More tofu recipes to enjoy
- Eggplant Tofu (Panda Express Copycat)
- Black Pepper Tofu
- Teriyaki Tofu Meatballs
- Pan-Fried Sesame Garlic Tofu
- Spicy Chili Tofu Stir Fry
Tofu Coconut Curry
- 2 tablespoons butter, if vegan, use dairy-free – I use Miyokos
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 habanero, minced
- 1 piece of fresh ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers packed in water, drained and pureed
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- Cilantro, for topping
- 1 ½ pounds extra-firm tofu, pressed
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
For the tofu:
- Cut the tofu into 1” cubes and pat dry with a paper towel. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Season with salt and set aside.
For the sauce:
- To the same skillet add the vegan butter and onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes unti the onions are translucent.
- Add in the habanero, ginger, garlic cloves, paprika, brown sugar, and sea salt. Cook another minute then add in the pureed roasted red peppers and coconut milk.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 minutes until slightly reduced. Season with additional salt to your taste.
- Add in the tofu and top with fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.