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Jenny's Sticky Sesame Tofu

Updated: Dec 16, 2020

"Easy weeknight meal to satisfy our Asian cravings, and it’s vegetarian! A great trick with crispy tofu like this is to freeze and then defrost the tofu. It completely changes the texture so it better mimics the consistency of chicken."



Lightly pan-fried, crispy tofu nuggets tossed in a sweet and salty, sticky sesame sauce and served over rice. Tastes like Sesame Chicken or General Tso's Chicken, but vegan!



For the Crispy Tofu

  • 1 box / 300g firm or extra firm tofu, drained

  • 6 Tbsp / 45g cornstarch

  • 2 Tbsp / 28g peanut oil or other high-heat oil, plus more as needed

For the Sticky Sesame Sauce

  • 1/4 cup / 60g soy sauce or tamari

  • 3 Tbsp / 45g tomato purée

  • 3 Tbsp / 38g brown sugar, or 3 Tbsp / 60g maple syrup

  • 1 Tbsp / 15g rice vinegar

  • 1 tsp sriracha or 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger

  • 1 tsp / 5g cooking oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 1 tsp / 5g sesame oil

For Serving (all optional):

  • rice

  • steamed broccoli

  • sesame seeds, sliced green onion, lime wedges, red pepper flakes


Make the Crispy Tofu

  • Place tofu block between some paper towels and press to absorb extra water. Repeat until tofu feels dry and no more water comes out. You can also do this ahead of time by placing something heavy over the tofu and paper towels, such as a bowl or pot, and leave it for several minutes.

  • Place corn starch in a medium bowl. Slice tofu into squares and toss in the corn starch until evenly coated.

  • Heat oil in a large fry pan and add tofu. Fry for a few minutes until golden, then flip tofu over. You can do this with tongs, or simply sauté/flip the tofu. The second way is faster, but requires a bit more skill and you have less control over which sides of the tofu land down. Add more oil to the pan as needed to get a nice golden crust on the tofu. Remove from heat when done.

Make the Sticky Sesame Sauce:

  • While the tofu is frying, prepare the sauce. In a bowl stir together soy sauce, tomato purée, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sriracha, and ginger.

  • Heat the cooking oil in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook until just starting to turn golden, 1-2 minutes.

  • Add the soy sauce mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce just starts to thicken. Stir in the sesame oil.

  • Add tofu to the sauce and toss until evenly covered; serve immediately with rice, broccoli, and garnishes, if desired.


  • This recipe makes enough sauce to coat the tofu, but if you want extra saucy tofu or more for the rice, double the sauce! You can also make a bigger batch and use leftovers with veggies, chicken, or anything you want to be sticky and sesame-y! :)

  • If you don’t have rice vinegar, use any vinegar you have on hand.

  • You can add more sriracha or red pepper flakes if you want it extra spicy!

  • If not serving all the tofu right away, it’s best to store it separately from the sauce if you wish to keep the tofu crispy.

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