Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl with Pickled Vegetables and Coconut Cream Rice

Prep: 20 mins

Cook: 30 mins

Total: 50 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Allergens: Peanuts

Why this recipe works

This recipe offers the complete meal packed with all the flavour and nutrients you desire. The coconut jasmine rice offers delicate undertones of creaminess to neutralise the spicy chilli and is beautifully balanced with the bright, spiced flavours of the pickled veg. Topped with a sweet garlicy peanut sauce to add a layer depth to the dish and flavouring to our tofu chunks. Our Scotch Bonnet & Lemon pickling brine offers a hint of spice and citrus to the pickled veg which make the ideal acidic topping for this earthy base. 

This dish offers a good portion of carbs, protein and healthy fats to give you a nourishing and satiating dinner. Perfect for guests or single serve suppers, this recipe is easily adaptable to cater to more or less people. Season with fresh cilantro, spring onions, lime zest and chilli for the perfect flavor punch! 

The stars of the show

Pickled stuff

Pickling produce: Cucumber, chilli, bell pepper and carrot

Sylt Pickling Liquid: 1 jar of Chinese Five Spice

Feel free to experiment with your pickled vegetables here but these three seemed like a no brainer. Cucumber soaks up the flavours easily and carrots and bell peppers are a welcomed addition to any stir fry. Other options might be coriander, broccoli or cabbage. 

The Chinese Five Spice is the perfect pickling brine for this dish, with spiced notes paired with the tartness of the vinegar compliments both the tofu and the rice, bringing the whole dish together. 


We went for a classic vegan tofu for this dish as it’s versatile and perfect for providing a neutral base which soaks up lots of flavour. Feel free to sub in other proteins you desire, seitan is a great soy free option.   

Ingredient list

Serves 2-3


  • ¼ cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • 1 jar Chinese Five Spice Sylt Pickling Liquid
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced strips
  • 1 chilli of desired level spiciness 

    Spicy Peanut Tofu 

    • 2 14-oz packages extra-firm tofu, drained
    • 2-3 tbsp corn starch
    • ¼ cup lime juice
    • ⅔ cup peanut butter
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
    • 1 clove garlic
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp Chinese Five Spice pickling liquid
    • 1 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
    • 1 tsp sriracha

    Coconut Rice

    • 1 cup jasmine rice
    • ½ cup coconut milk (full fat)
    • Zest of 1 lime
    • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced


    Pickled produce

    1. For the pickled vegetables, add the cucumbers, peppers and carrots into the Sylt Chinese Five Spice pickling liquid along with the honey, ensuring all contents are fully submerged. 
    2. Place your sealed jar in the fridge and let it sit for anywhere between 3 hours and several weeks.
    3. Keep on hand for recipes like this one and simply retrieve your veggies when you’re ready to serve.

    Coconut Rice

    1. In a small pot, combine rice with 1 cup of water, the coconut milk and a pinch of salt. 
    2. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. 
    3. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the rice is cooked. 
    4. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, until ready to serve.
    5. Just before serving, gently mix in the lime zest and sliced scallions.

    Spicy Peanut Tofu

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Cut tofu in half lengthwise and using paper towels, squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
    3. Cube tofu and toss with corn starch, until coated. 
    4. Arrange on a baking sheet and cook 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
    5. To make the peanut sauce, add the lime juice, peanut butter, oil, ginger, garlic, maple syrup and ¾ cup of water to a food processor or blender. 
    6. Process until smooth and season to taste with salt.
    7. Remove a cup of the sauce to a small bowl and add the rice wine vinegar and soy to make the dressing; set aside.
    8. To the remaining sauce stir in the chilli garlic sauce and sriracha. 
    9. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add tofu and remaining peanut sauce. 
    10. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until tofu is coated in the sauce.

    To serve, divide the rice into the bowls, top with the tofu and the three pickled vegetables and sprinkle some black sesame seeds if desired.


    • Add some fresh red chilli flakes to the peanut sauce if you want that extra kick of spice. 
    • Top your rice bowl with crispy shallots and deep-fried peanuts for that extra crunch. 
    • To pack in more flavour, spice up the corn starch with onion and garlic powder before coating the tofu. 
    • Peanut sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored refrigerated until ready to use.
    • If you don’t have black sesame seeds, it can be easily substituted with toasted sesame seeds.


    How long should I pickle my produce for? 

    Let your veggies pickle for at least 3 hours to allow the pickling vinegar flavouring to be absorbed into the produce. If you have enough time however, it would be preferable to leave your pickling subjects for a few days for best results!

    Let's talk about tofu, what does it taste like?

    Plain tofu has a very mild taste and squishy texture. Its taste is comparable to beans and doesn’t have any strong flavor. It is usually the seasoning and cooking method which jazzes up the taste so you can really adapt its flavor to anything you like in this sense. 

    How do I press tofu?

    You can press tofu whole, or cut it unto equal smaller chunks first. Sandwich your tofu between 3 sheets of paper towel on top and underneath then place a baking tray on top and weigh down with something heavy. Chunky cooking books work great for this! It can take a good 20-30 minutes to press all of the water out, but in return you do get the crispiest tofu.

    Where do I buy tofu?

    Tofu is sold in most larger supermarkets, specialty supermarkets and health food stores. You will usually find it in the refrigerated section alongside other meat free substitutes. For this recipe and most savoury tofu dishes you will want to lookout for extra firm tofu as opposed to silken, which tends to be better for desserts. 

    How long does my cooked tofu last?

    Cooking tofu can extend the shelf life up to 3 days. Make sure you keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.