Vegetarian Crying Tiger feature

Crying Tiger with Tofu (Tiger Cry)

Crying Tiger with Tofu is a delicious and unique dish. Crispy fried tofu combines with spicy Thai chili Nam Jim, Thai basil, and sticky rice for a delicious and balanced dish.

crying tiger with tofu

I got the inspiration for this dish from my favorite Thai restaurant in Austin, Sway. They used to have a dish called Tiger Cry on their menu that was super spicy and super flavorful. I’ve had it at other places, but the flavor just wasn’t the same. Wanting a meat-free version of that dish, I set out to make this dish with all the flavor of the original, and according to my meat-eating husband, this is it.


Techniques for perfect Crying Tiger with Tofu


  • Our vegetarian nam jim is citrusy, sweet, and spicy, and perfect for this dish. 
  • Use panko crumbs. Panko breading gives plenty of surface area for the delicious nam jim to hang on. 
  • Don’t crowd the tofu, leave plenty of space in the pan when frying so it gets nice and crispy.



Yield: 4 Servings

Crying Tiger with Tofu (Tiger Cry)

Vegetarian Crying Tiger feature

Crispy tofu and sweet, spicy, umami sauce combine for a mouthful of flavor in every bite.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 batch of nam jim (linked above)
  • 1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu, sliced into 1 inch slices lengthwise
  • 1 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 1.5 cups uncooked sushi rice, rinsed until water runs clear
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs or equivalent vegan egg substitute
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper


    1. Press the tofu: Place the slices of tofu on a plate with a paper towel between each slice. Balance a salad plate on top to squeeze the liquid out of the tofu. Let it sit like that until time to fry. Just before frying, slice tofu into 1-inch cubes.
    2. Sushi rice: In a lidded pot, bring rinsed rice and 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Immediately when steam escapes from the lid, remove from heat for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, return to the burner and simmer on low heat until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove from heat and gently stir in 2 tablespoons mirin.
    3. Get the oil ready: Heat one cup vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. The oil should not smoke but should be hot enough that the tofu sizzles when you put it in.
    4. Setup 3 bowls for breading the tofu: 1st bowl: 1 cup flour seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. 2nd bowl: two eggs whisked together with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt. 3rd bowl: 1 cup panko breadcrumbs seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
    5. Bread the tofu: Dip tofu cube into flour and shake off excess. Dip tofu cube into the egg, gently shake off the excess. Spoon the panko bread crumbs onto the tofu cube. Do not submerge tofu cube into bread crumbs as they will become soggy and will later not stick. Place tofu straight into hot oil and cook until breadcrumbs are golden brown, turning once. Once breadcrumbs are golden brown, remove from oil and place onto a paper towel lined plate.
    6. To serve: Arrange the rice on one side of the plate. Arrange the tofu next to the rice, and top with the Thai basil and Nam Jim.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 466Total Fat: 65gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 55gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 554mgCarbohydrates: 68gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 24g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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