This crispy, panfried Sesame Tofu is so easy to make and tastes amazing! The tofu is drenched in a sticky, spicy and sweet sauce along with stir-fried peppers and onions. Just serve with rice for a very tasty vegan dinner.
This is the dish that changed my mind forever about tofu. I was never a fan, in fact, I really didn't like tofu at all. Until I made this. I mean what kind of vegetarian would I be if I didn't give tofu a chance? Well, I was converted immediately and now we have tofu at least once a week. Whether it's Teriyaki Tofu or my easy Tofu Tikka Masala, we are hooked!
So easy to make and packed with flavour this sesame tofu is great for a tasty vegan dinner. The tofu is marinated before being pan-fried until perfectly crispy. You can bake it, but frying the tofu gave me the best results. Then I cook up some onions and peppers, add the sauce, then the tofu. Just serve with rice and you're done!
What You'll Need
This dish calls for just a few simple ingredients, you probably have everything you need in your cupboards already.
How to Make Sesame Tofu
This is just a quick visual guide, please see the recipe card below for full instructions.
- Make the marinade, whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add the tofu to the marinade and leave for about 30 minutes.
- Fry the tofu. You might need to do this in batches. Remove from the wok and keep warm.
- Stir fry the veggies. 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 rice.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- Tofu. Extra-firm tofu will give you the best results for this dish, but firm tofu will work well too. You will find extra-firm tofu in all good health food stores or in the veggies section of the chilled food aisle of your supermarket.
- Pro Tip - Tofu soaks up a lot of liquid, your tofu will come in liquid so it will have soaked up a lot it. For best results, you will need to get as much liquid out of the tofu as possible. You can use a tofu press if you have one. 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 amount of time but you could get away with 15. You'll be surprised how much liquid will come out of that tofu!
- Marinade. Leave the tofu to soak up the marinade for about 30 minutes. If you can leave it longer then all the better, but 30 minutes is great. 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.
- Pro-Tip - Don't bin that leftover marinade! Add it to the sauce, the cornstarch in the marinade will make the sauce lovely and thick!
- Cook the tofu in batches. I cook the tofu in batches in a hot wok with a little oil. You'll need 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 and cover it to keep it warm.
- Veggies - You can use lots of different vegetables for this sesame tofu recipe. Try swapping the peppers for broccoli or sugar snap peas and baby corn.
Can I Bake Sesame Tofu Instead?
Yes, you can. I have made this with baked tofu and have to say I preferred the tofu panfried. But if you want to bake it you can. You will need to preheat your oven to 200 F (390C). Place the marinated tofu on a lined baking tray then bake for 20 - 30 minutes turning halfway through cooking. Once crispy, add to the sauce as per the recipe.
More Tasty Tofu Recipes
- Vegan Thai Red Curry - creamy, spicy and packed with layers of delicious flavour this is perfect for a tasty weekend dinner.
- Miso Glazed Tofu with Veggies - crispy baked tofu with stir-fried veggies and noodles in a tasty miso sauce.
Have you made this Sesame Tofu Recipe? Rate it and leave me a comment below to let me know what you think!
Sesame Tofu with Stir-Fried Peppers
For the marinade
- 280 g (1 x 10 oz pack) of extra firm tofu cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
- ½ tablespoon grapeseed oil + more for cooking
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup
- 1½ tablespoon lemon juice
For the stir fry
- ½ tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 1 medium (110g) brown onion peeled and cut into thin wedges
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 thumb-size piece of ginger peeled then grated
- ¼ teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
- 2 large bell peppers seeds and pith removed then sliced
- 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 3 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Boiled or steamed rice
- Sesame seeds
- 3 spring onions thinly sliced diagonally
- First, drain the tofu. Dry the tofu with kitchen paper. Slice the tofu into 4 even slices.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 beans on top. Leave the tofu to drain for at least 15 minutes, 30 minutes if you can.
- Once the tofu is done, make the marinade.Add ½ a tablespoon of cornflour (cornstarch) to a large bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, ½ a tablespoon of maple syrup, 1 and a ½ tablespoons of lemon juice, ½ tablespoon of grapeseed oil and 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil. Stir in 1 minced clove of garlic. Then add the tofu. Stir well to make sure each cube is covered in the marinade. Leave the tofu to soak up the marinade for about 30 minutes. Keep the leftover marinade.
- After 30 minutes, heat ½ tablespoon 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 and cover to keep warm.
To make the stir fry
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and ¼ teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes, cook for a minute. Then add the peppers and cook for about 3 minutes.Whisk together the lemon juice soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl.Add the sauce and cook for until it bubbles up.Add the remaining marinade 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, sliced spring onions and sesame seeds.
- Tofu - Extra-firm tofu is best for this recipe for this but firm tofu will do if you can't get extra firm.
- Marinade - The longer you leave the tofu marinading the better, at least 30 minutes is best. Don't forget to keep the marinade to add to the sauce.
- Freezing/storing and reheating - I don't recommend freezing this dish. If you have leftovers you can store them in the fridge and reheat on the hob. Please be careful if reheating any rice, make sure it is piping hot before you eat it. The tofu will keep in the fridge for a day or two.
- Making ahead - 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.
- Veggies - You can play around with the veggies with this one, mushrooms, sugar snap peas and baby corn all go very well in this dish.
- Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is approximate. It is based on one serving of four and does not include rice or sesame seeds.
*This recipe was first posted on January 2019, updated in August 2019, with a step by step guide and expert tips. Updated again Febuary 2021 with new photos and nutritional information.
Hi Michelle, another lovely recipe. I was hoping to freeze it but I can see it isn't recommended. Why is this?
Hi Kevin, when you freeze tofu ice crystals form in the tofu an create tiny pockets. The texture changes a lot, making the tofu almost layer like. It also makes the tofi chewier. So the texture is very different, I haven't had good results when freezing it cooked. But if you don't mind the change in texture then you could give it a try. I would freeze a very small amount first though to see if it works for you. I wouldn't want it to ruin a whole dish 😉
Sam | Ahead of Thyme
My husband is obsessed with stir frys! The flavours you have here look sooo good and I love how easy this recipe is to make. I can't wait to surprise him with it!
This tofu dish looks beyond amazing. I like tofu but I was wondering if I can use Indian cottage cheese (paneer) also in place of tofu while keeping the other ingredients same?
Thanks, Saima x Yes, you could use paneer in place of the tofu! I like this idea, will try it soon x
I wasn't super into tofu until recently, and I think that was because I hadn't learnt how to prep it properly. You're 100% right, pressing it and marinating it makes SO much difference to the taste and texture, it's like a completely new product! This looks like such a flavoursome dish, and that tofu looks perfect
These are great tips, especially for getting excess moisture out of the tofu! I think with a recipe like this I could even get my tofu-skeptic husband on board!
This dish has my name all over it! I love tofu and I don't make it nearly as often as I'd like. This meal is easy but delicious and I can't wait to make 🙂
Jessica (Swanky Recipes)
I've seen an explosion of Asian inspired recipes and I can't get enough. I'm addicted to sesame protein and the hubs loves it, too. Bet this is amazing with some steamed rice as a side.
Who needs meat with a recipe like this? This stir fry looks outrageously delicious, if only I could reach through this screen with a fork... Thanks for sharing!
I like the recipe idea, but think it would be better with regular soy sauce - the sauce was very dark/black with overpowering flavour when I made it (had to go back and double check that it said 4 Tbsp of dark soy). The tofu was also black from the marinade.
It seems to be missing when to add the chilli sauce to the stir fry, but I assume it gets mixed in with the other sauce ingredients.
Oh, yes! I am totally down for this! Looooove these flavors! Totally bookmarking this for later! Can't wait to give it a try! 🙂
I hope you enjoy it x
I've never had tofu before but this looks and sounds so delicious!!! I can't wait to make it...I just will tell my husband it's chicken! LOL
LOL, Well I won't tell anyone! You may want to use more sauce though if you plan on passing tofu off as chicken :))
I bet this dish tastes wonderfully. I am always a bit put off by the texture of tofu, but I think I'd like it crispy. Never tried, so this could be a good start. I just wonder if I can get extra firm, I guess I'll have to explore the vegetarian aisle a bit more and find out!
Eva, I was the same! I love it like this though, making it nice and crispy really helps 🙂 You should be able to get extra firm in the vegetarian aisle or in your local health food store x
You really stepped up the tofu game with this dish! I love that marinade and love that I can use it for other dishes as well.
Thank you Des Xx
This is the perfect way to enjoy tofu. I love that it creates such a tasty and healthy dish.
Thanks Jacque x