Removing as much moisture as possible provides the best possible texture for your tofu dishes. My Crispy Sesame Tofu gets a little extra flavor from a slurry of sesame oil, tamari, and cornstarch before a quick shallow fry in coconut and sesame oil… It’s a great vegetarian main to serve alongside your Asian side dishes!
“The mind is like tofu. It tastes like whatever you marinate it in.”
~~ Sylvia Boorstein
What words do you use to describe tofu? Bland. Boring. Weird. No flavor. Or should I say “will you even eat tofu?” So many people have an aversion to tofu, yet when well-prepared, it can be a healthy addition to your diet. Adequate protein is of primary importance in a healthy diet. If you practice #MeatlessMonday or follow a vegan/vegetarian diet, tofu provides an excellent source of vegetable protein.
I typically buy a 12 ounce carton of extra firm tofu, and slice it into 3 crosswise portions prior to pressing the liquid from the tofu. Each 4 ounce serving has more than 10 g of protein, and only about 60 calories. That totally means you can have more than 4 ounces if you want to… 😀 For this dish, I slice each rectangle diagonally to form triangles. This size is easy to handle in the pan, and looks nice on the plate.
So, if you had a simple way to make tofu that actually tastes good, will you eat it? Removing some of the moisture from the tofu results in a firmer – and less spongy – texture. I think many of you have objections to that texture, right? The super-simple coating on the tofu provides flavor, and a nice crispy exterior. I actually created this recipe to serve alongside the Asian Roasted Shishito Peppers With Roasted Cauliflower and Rainbow Carrots. Crispy Sesame Tofu would also be great with Stir Fried Green Beans and Shiitake. Do you have a vegetable stir fry dish that needs a protein partner? You might also try an Asian-inspired dipping sauce like this Spicy Sweet Chilli Sauce from the Flavor Bender!
Press the moisture from your “extra firm” tofu by placing several layers of paper towels between each slice, and then a thick towel around the entire block. Weight the block with a cast iron skillet. Let it set about 20-30 minutes. Pat dry any extra moisture. Conversely, you can invest in a tofu press. Whisk the tamari, sesame oil, and cornstarch together, and then “paint” your tofu slices with the slurry. Bring a non-stick sauté pan with the coconut and sesame oils nearly to the smoke point. Add the tofu slices carefully. We want to avoid burns, K? When the tofu slices are golden brown, flip them. Once golden brown on the second side, remove to a plate. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, and finely chopped scallions or chives. Enjoy!
Try it, you’ll like it! (That’s what my mom used to always say when I was little). I hope you’ll give this a whirl the next time you’re looking for something new for #MeatlessMonday. If you do, please let me know how it goes…
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Crispy Sesame Tofu gets a little extra flavor from a slurry of sesame oil, tamari, and cornstarch before a quick shallow fry in coconut and sesame oil... It's a great vegetarian main to serve alongside your Asian side dishes!
20 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 12 ounces extra firm tofu see notes
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- refined coconut, canola, or vegetable oil to cover bottom of pan
- finely chopped scallions
- toasted sesame seeds
Slice the block of tofu into 3 crosswise pieces.
Press the moisture from the tofu either with a tofu press or with layers of toweling and weight. See notes.
Whisk the sesame oil, tamari, and cornstarch together in a small prep bowl.
Heat the sesame oil and coconut oil in a nonstick saute pan to medium high heat.
Using a very flexible brush (I like silicone), brush one side of each piece of tofu. Carefully set them into the hot pan with hot oils.
Brush the top of each slice with the remaining mixture. Carefully turn each piece when it is golden brown.
Remove to a platter. Paper towels will absorb any excess oils.
Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, and finely chopped scallions or chives.
You really need extra firm tofu to prepare it this way. Firm will work, but give it a little extra attention when removing moisture!
Tamari is naturally gluten-free, but not all manufacturers are "gluten free." If this is a concern, check the bottle! Tamari is similar to soy sauce, but is a byproduct of miso, and has more complex flavor.
I put paper toweling between each tofu slice, wrap the entire block in paper toweling, and then in a thick kitchen towel. Then I place a cast iron skillet on top. When I remove it from all that wrapping, I press with more dry toweling. Santa is getting me a tofu press for Christmas!
Macro nutrients (approximate from MyFitnessPal): 286 calories; protein 12 g; carbohydrates 9 g; fats 22 g.