Say hello to your new favorite high protein snack. This baked sesame ginger tofu is crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and the sauce will have you licking your fingers clean.
While we were traveling in the Philippines, we kept re-visiting a restaurant that served teriyaki tofu on rice. Nothing extraordinary. Just crispy tofu, teriyaki sauce, and rice. And let us tell you, sometimes the most simple dish is the one that keeps you up at night.
We created this recipe as an ode to our time in the Philippines, and to highlight how sometimes the simplest foods are the ones that blow you away. This baked sesame ginger tofu is going to be that food for you.
Tofu is something people either really love or really hate. While some people still don't even know what the heck it is! If you buy a pack of tofu, cut it up, and serve it plain, don't expect to be impressed. You're going to have to put in a little effort people.
But before you get discouraged, think about having to marinate meat before cooking it. Treat tofu the same way. It is your protein source after all! The great thing about tofu is that it takes on any marinade or flavor, so it's extremely versatile.
It's super easy to throw on rice, mix in a stir-fry, or eat on its own. The key to achieving the best tofu texture is to use the firm variety and press the water out of it. We'll show you how to ensure you end up with the crispiest, most delicious tofu every time.
🍲 Key ingredients
- Sesame oil: it wouldn't be a sesame ginger tofu without some sesame oil. It adds a delicious nutty flavor and is often used in Asian cuisine. Interestingly enough, sesame oil actually contains antioxidants that are showing real promise in promoting good artery health. But let's not kid ourselves here, we just like the taste.
- Tofu: a high-protein, highly versatile food that can be used in just about any recipe. We even add it to smoothies! For those of you that didn't know, tofu is made from soybeans that are ground in water and pressed into a block (or "brick" as we say). There is a number of different tofu varieties, from extra-soft silken to extra-firm tofu. We use extra-firm for this recipe.
- Ginger: this spice is one of the healthiest, and also tastiest ingredients in the world. It actually originated from a flowering plant in China. Ginger is widely used in both cooking and medicine as a treatment for nausea and upset stomach. It has a strong, spicy flavor that finishes a little sweet. We always opt for fresh ginger root over the powdered form, but use whatever is convenient to you.
- Corn starch: along with pressing it, corn starch helps crisp up the tofu even more without needing to fry it. If you aren't able to eat corn, you can try using arrowroot starch instead.
To start this recipe off, open and drain your pack of tofu. Wrap it in a clean tea towel, and place a flat surface above and below it. We usually just use two cutting boards.
Now, leave a heavy object on the top cutting board to press the water out for about 20-30 minutes. You can use things like canned vegetables or large dishes.
Next, you'll need to put together the tofu marinade. It comes together in 5 minutes or less with sesame oil, maple syrup, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, and other tasty ingredients. Cube the tofu, toss it in the marinade, and let it sit for about 5 minutes or so.
If you have more time, you can marinate it for longer since it will soak in the flavors even more.
Once you've let it marinate, coat the tofu cubes in corn starch and bake them for 25-30 minutes. In the meantime start cooking some rice to serve with the tofu.
When you've got that going, reduce the leftover marinade on your stovetop in a skillet until it's nice and thick. This should only take about 5-10 minutes. You can also toast some sesame seeds to garnish the tofu with, but raw works too.
Once the tofu is done, throw the cubes into your skillet and coat them in the sesame ginger glaze. Serve the tofu with rice, chopped green onions, and sesame seeds. And there you have it! Simple and delicious.
Once cooked, tofu will last in the fridge for 4-5 days. We would not recommend freezing it.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Instead of maple syrup, use a cheaper liquid sweetener like agave nectar
- Replace the lime juice with more rice vinegar
- Buy the tahini at your local Mediterranean market for the best price
- Serve the tofu with a higher ratio of rice to make it last longer
🍴 Tasting notes
This is one of those recipes you'll find yourself constantly coming back to. It's:
If you try this tofu, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Baked Sesame Ginger Tofu
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Mixing bowl
- Frying pan
- Tofu press or hard surfaces
- Rice cooker
- 3 tbsp sesame oil ($0.40)
- 3 tbsp liquid aminos ($0.54)
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar ($0.44)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup ($0.29)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced ($0.08)
- 2 tbsp ginger, finely minced ($0.06)
- 1 tbsp lime juice ($0.12)
- ½ tbsp sriracha ($0.03)
- 1 tbsp tahini ($0.06)
- 1 brick tofu ($1.42)
- 3 tbsp corn starch ($0.08)
For serving optional
- 2 cups white or brown rice, cooked ($0.29)
- 1-2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds ($0.12)
- 1-2 stalks green onions, sliced ($0.12)
- To start, preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Open and drain the pack of tofu. Wrap it in a clean tea towel, and place a flat surface above and below it (we usually use two cutting boards). Leave a heavy object on the top cutting board to press the water out for 20-30 minutes.
- Next, whisk the tofu marinade ingredients together in a container big enough to fit tofu. Set aside.
- Once the tofu is pressed, cube it into bite-size pieces, toss it in the marinade with a cover on, and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Next, pick up each tofu cube with a fork to drain it and place it in a clean container or plastic bag. Add in the corn starch and shake to coat each cube well.
- Transfer tofu to the parchment-lined pan, and bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway. They should look golden brown and feel crispy when done.
- While the tofu is baking, start the rice in a pressure cooker or rice cooker. Then, heat a frying pan over medium and add in the leftover marinade. Reduce sauce until it thickens slightly, about 5-10 minutes.
- Once the tofu is done baking, add the cubes into your pan to coat them in the sesame ginger glaze. Serve the tofu with rice, chopped green onions, and toasted sesame seeds!
- This meal also tastes great with freshly squeezed lime juice or more liquid aminos on top.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty tofu dishes, check out our:
- Vegan ground beef to throw in your chili or over ramen bowls!
- Tofu Buddha bowl for a healthy and delicious way to eat the rainbow.
- Teriyaki tofu stir fry that's quick and easy, but dangerously good.
- Tofu scramble to enjoy a high-protein, savory breakfast.
Instead of corn starch, you can try arrowroot starch with varied results. You can also omit it, but the tofu will not crisp up as much.
No, you do not have to press the tofu. It does help get rid of the excess water, but the recipe will still work if you don't have time to press the tofu.
Yes, you can omit the Sriracha hot sauce if you are sensitive to spicy foods.