Weekends were made for this sesame tofu. We ditched the takeouts for January and started making our own fakeouts! To be honest our local Chinese takeaway is pretty good, except for the vegetarian options. So we sort of had no choice but to make our own. My version of sesame tofu with stir-fried peppers is good enough to keep us happy though. This sesame tofu is bursting with flavour, it’s sweet and sticky and perfect for a weekend treat.
Now if you’re reading this and thinking it takes ages to make, yep you do need to dry out the tofu and let it marinate. But then it all comes together very quickly and is totally worth the time. Patience is a virtue, my friends. We don’t eat a lot of tofu in my house, but sometimes you need something extra in your stir fry. And the only way tofu goes down with my lot is when it’s crispy and tasty. And if it’s sweet and sticky all the better! That’s what you’re getting with this dish, sweet and sticky, crispy tofu in a lovely sticky sauce with peppers and onion.
How Do You Make Tofu Crispy?
First of all, you need to use extra firm tofu. If you can’t get extra firm then firm tofu will do too. Next, you need to get as much liquid out of the tofu as possible. If you have a tofu press then great, I don’t. I use the baking tray and canned bean method. Place your cubed tofu on a baking tray lined with two sheets of kitchen paper. Cover the tofu with another double layer of kitchen paper. Top that with another baking tray then place 4 cans of beans on the top tray. Leave that to sit, 30 minutes is a good time but you could get away with 15. You’ll be surprised how much liquid will come out of that tofu!
Next, you need to marinate the tofu, for this recipe, I added some cornflour (cornstarch) to the marinade to make it a little bit crispier. Once the tofu has soaked up a good amount of marinade then you need to cook it up. I cook the tofu in batches in a hot wok with a little oil. You’ll need a kitchen tongs to turn the tofu so each side gets nice and crispy. Be careful though, if your oil is too hot it will spit. Once cooked I transfer the tofu to a plate covered with kitchen paper, to soak up any excess oil. That’s it, crispy tofu done!
How To Make Sesame Tofu With Stir Fried Peppers:
Once you’ve pressed your tofu let it marinate in that sesame and sweet chilli marinade. I like to leave it for about 30 minutes. Cook up your tofu then set aside. Heat up the oil in a large wok and cook up the onion then the garlic, chilli flakes and ginger. Add the peppers and cook for a little bit. The sauce makes this dish extra special, it’s sweet, sticky and has a nice little hit of heat. I use lime juice and zest with more toasted sesame, soy sauce and cornflour, that’s what makes the magic happen and gives you a thick sticky sauce.
Add the sauce to the peppers, give it all a good stir then add the tofu. Stir gently, so you don’t break up the tofu, scrambled tofu is no fun! Once everything is good and hot serve it immediately with some boiled rice. Top it off with some chopped spring onions and sesame seeds. I forgot to add these when I took the photos! Oops, it tasted just as good without them. So once you’ve got the pressing and marinading bit out of the way this does come together pretty quickly. Sesame tofu with stir-fried peppers done! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
Sesame Tofu with Stir-Fried Peppers
For the marinade
- 280 g extra firm tofu cut into bitesize cubes
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 1 fat clove of garlic minced
- 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp cornflour (corn starch)
To cook the tofu
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
For the stir fry
- 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1 small onion (110g) peeled and cut into thin wedges
- 2 fat cloves of garlic minced
- 1 thumb size piece of ginger peeled then grated
- 1/4 tsp dried red chilli flakes
- 1 large green bell pepper seeds and pith removed, cut into chunks
- 1 large red bell pepper seeds and pith removed, cut into chunks
- 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 small lime the juice and zest of
- 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 3 spring onions thinly sliced diagonally
- Boiled rice for serving
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- First, drain the tofu. Wipe the tofu with kitchen paper. Line a baking tray with 2 layers of kitchen paper, place the tofu on the paper. Cover with another 2 layers of kitchen paper. Place a smaller baking tray over the covered tofu then place 4 cans of bean on top. Leave the tofu to dry out for at least 15 minutes, 30 minutes if you can.
- Once the tofu is done, whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl then add the tofu. Make sure each cube is covered in the marinade. Leave the tofu to soak up the marinade for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok then start frying the tofu in small batches. Making sure to turn the tofu so all sides get nice and crispy. Remove from the wok then place on a plate lined with kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Transfer to a bowl until you are ready to add to the stir fry. Don't leave the tofu sitting on the kitchen paper, the paper will stick to the tofu.
- To make the stir fry - Whisk together the lime juice, zest, soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and chilli flakes, cook for a minute. Then add the peppers and cook for about 3 minutes.Now add the sauce and the tofu, cook over medium heat, gently stirring all the time, until the sauce is thick and sticky and the tofu is hot.Serve immediately, with boiled rice, the spring onions and sesame seeds.
- Calories are approximate and do not include rice.
- You really need to use extra firm tofu for this but firm tofu will do if you can't get extra firm.
- The longer you leave the tofu marinading the better, at least 30 minutes is best.
- I don't recommend freezing this dish.
- The sauce and the marinade can be made a day in advance, keep them covered in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
- You can play around with the veggies with this one, mushrooms, sugar snap peas and baby corn all go very well in this dish.
More Better Than Takeout Weekend Dinners:
- Mushroom Stir Fry with Broccoli & Pepper
- Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry
- Vegetable Korma
- Mushroom Fried Rice
- Thai Red Curry with Veggies & Crispy Tofu
- Mushroom Curry with Spinach & Chickpeas
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