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Pan-Fried Sesame Garlic Tofu

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If you aren't totally 100% on board with tofu yet, this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu will have you head over heels in love with it! #tofu #tofurecipe #vegan #veganrecipes

If you’ve claimed yourself not a tofu fan, you probably just haven’t had tofu the right way.

I bet you if you had this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu, you would change your tune on tofu!

I have been loving tofu in my dishes lately.

It’s a great source of protein and low in fat.

It’s so tender too and it soaks up all the flavor of the dish.

It’s a great blank slate and super versatile.

Think of it like the vegetarian’s chicken, haha

I mean, kind of is. We add chicken to our dishes to flavor it up and have it soak up the flavors of the dish. Tofu is basically doing the same.

If you aren't totally 100% on board with tofu yet, this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu will have you head over heels in love with it! #tofu #tofurecipe #vegan #veganrecipes

What kind of tofu do you need?

I love getting extra-firm tofu.

If you get soft, it just falls apart completely in the skillet.

How do you get the tofu so crispy? What’s the secret?

You gotta drain it well and cornstarch!

So, kind of like my eggplant parmesan recipe where you pull the liquid out of the eggplant, you gotta pull the liquid out of the tofu.

Tofu comes in a package and it’s just sitting in water.

And like I mentioned above, tofu soaks up all the flavor in a dish so you can imagine how much liquid tofu is soaking up while sitting in the package.

To get the liquid of out of the tofu, you gotta press it.

It’s actually easier than you think; there’s hardly any work at all involved!

If you aren't totally 100% on board with tofu yet, this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu will have you head over heels in love with it! #tofu #tofurecipe #vegan #veganrecipes

How do you press the tofu to get the liquid out?

You start by opening the package of the tofu and then holding the tofu in place, tip the package upside down so all the water is drained.

Definitely do this over a sink!

Then, on a small plate, place two sheets of paper towels on the plate.

Place the tofu on top.

Then place two more sheets of paper towels on top of the tofu.

Find something heavy like a cast iron skillet and place it on top of the tofu.

Let that sit for about 30 minutes but coming back to check on it halfway through and change out the paper towel.

ALTERNATIVELY and more eco-friendly: place a wire baking rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Place tofu on top and then put a heavy object on top and let drain for 30 minutes.

This essentially presses out the liquid of the tofu and gives you a much better way to work with it!

And ensuring it gets crispy and not soggy!

If you aren't totally 100% on board with tofu yet, this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu will have you head over heels in love with it! #tofu #tofurecipe #vegan #veganrecipes

Tips for getting crispy tofu

All the above ways will definitely help to ensure a crispy exterior but also what you use and the method you cook will help too!

First, definitely do the pressing.

Second, coat the tofu in cornstarch.

It’s messy but it’s worth it.

Third, once you get it in the skillet, DON’T TOUCH IT!

As with all things (browning meats, crisping up the bottoms of potstickers, making fall off the bone ribs), leave it alone and let it do its thing.

If you keep moving it around in the pan, it won’t have the time to brown at all.

The simple ingredients in this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu

There are only a handful of ingredients for the sauce that coats this tofu dish!

  • Soy sauce
  • Sambal oelek
  • Rice vinegar
  • Honey
  • Sesame oil

If you aren't totally 100% on board with tofu yet, this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu will have you head over heels in love with it! #tofu #tofurecipe #vegan #veganrecipes

Grab the recipe below and make this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu tonight!

Serve it with a side of rice and vegetables or make a tofu bowl!

Or, pin this recipe and save it for later!

If you aren't totally 100% on board with tofu yet, this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu will have you head over heels in love with it! #tofu #tofurecipe #vegan #veganrecipes

If you aren't totally 100% on board with tofu yet, this pan-fried sesame garlic tofu will have you head over heels in love with it! #tofu #tofurecipe #vegan #veganrecipes
4.51 from 123 votes
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Pan-Fried Sesame Garlic Tofu

This crispy pan-fried sesame garlic tofu is going to change your mind about tofu almost instantly!
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian
Servings: 2

Servings are adjustable but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings.

Calories: 313kcal
Author: Julie Chiou

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek (if you like it less spicy, stick with 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  • Place two paper towels on a plate then place the entire block of tofu (drained from its packaging liquid) onto the plate. Place two more paper towels on top of the tofu then put a heavy item on top. Not TOO heavy that it would completely crush the tofu but heavy enough that it can squeeze out liquid.
    I like using a cast iron skillet.
    Leave for 30 minutes and halfway through, change out the paper towels.
    ALTERNATIVELY and more eco-friendly: place a wire baking rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Place tofu on top and then put a heavy object on top and let drain for 30 minutes.
  • Once the tofu has drained, slice in half then into cubes and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle cornstarch on top and gently toss with your hands to ensure all tofu pieces are covered.
  • In a large skillet, add sesame oil and vegetable oil then bring up to medium-high heat.
  • Once oil is heated up, add the tofu to the skillet and let brown on all sides.
  • In the meantime, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce.
  • Once the tofu has browned and crisped up on all sides, add the sauce to the skillet and it should start to thicken immediately. Toss the tofu around to coat then remove from heat.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Sesame seeds and scallions are garnish. You can add them if you want but they were mainly added for aesthetic reasons.
A note on sesame oil and vegetable oil: some people have been saying sesame oil has a low smoke point and should not be used to cook/fry. While I haven't had issues with this (you aren't frying the tofu) and nothing has smoked/burned, I have adjusted the recipe to use 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil in conjunction with vegetable oil to help with the smoking points. You can omit the vegetable oil and just use all sesame oil if you want. Just depends on what you're comfortable with.
I say to use garlic paste because you aren't cooking the sauce long and if you use fresh garlic then it may still be raw and have a bite to it. However, you are more than welcome to use 1 clove of freshly minced garlic!
Nutrition Facts
Pan-Fried Sesame Garlic Tofu
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 313 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Protein 19g38%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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Recipe Rating




Ray

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021

Your instructions say Third - tofu to pan..."don't touch it" Later says brown all sides...... Amature cook.....little confused here

Julie Chiou

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

right, don't touch it until the one side you are browning/getting crispy is brown/crisp...then flip and do all other sides with the same steps

Jacqueline

Thursday 25th of February 2021

I can't wait to try this recipe! Thanks!

Hehe

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

10/10 super easy to make and to reduce/ increase some of the ingredient increments. I loved this recipe and I brought a new found sense of appreciation for tofu.

Marilyn

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Thanks for the recipe! Whenever I use tofu in any recipe, I drain out the water and bake it on a baking sheet, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about an hour. This dries it out and gives it the texture I like.

Walter

Saturday 20th of February 2021

I am assuming for this recipe the sesame oil called for is the regular "untoasted" sesame oil.

So for all the people who have posted that sesame oil has a low smoke point is absolutely incorrect.

From an article off of Martha Stewarts website by Lynn Andriani, she states…

Regular, untoasted sesame oil (often labeled simply "sesame oil") is made from raw, pressed sesame seeds. It has a relatively high smoke point (410 degrees), so you can use it as you would other neutral oils, such as canola or grapeseed. Reach for regular sesame oil if you're shallow frying or roasting; it's a solid all-purpose oil.

Regarding the very dark colored, "toasted" sesame oil, it should not be used for frying but should instead only be used as a condiment, to drizzle over foods just before serving.

Here is the link for the complete article… https://www.marthastewart.com/1537985/sesame-oil-about-toasted-untoasted#:~:text=It%20has%20a%20relatively%20high,a%20solid%20all%2Dpurpose%20oil.