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Pan-Fried Sesame Garlic Tofu

 Firm tofu is pan fried until a crispy crust has been formed, then tossed in a savoury sweet and garlicky sesame sauce. Sure to turn any non tofu lover, into a fan!

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Growing up, my dad was very much a meat and potatoes fan. We had meat with mostly every dinner, except for Friday's during lent, when we would have soup, or fish. I on the other hand have never been a huge fan of meat. While I do enjoy chicken and fish, I seldomly make pork and beef. So I've always been searching for ways to increase my iron intake, without eating meat. 

Four years ago, I was hired on part time, in the kitchen at a local Natural Food's Market. Being a Mom, I've always felt stuck between feeding my kids healthy foods and letting them enjoy life through food. I grew up in a time when drinking soda was all the rage and every child had snacks loaded with sugar in their lunches. It was common for us to have dessert after every meal and mom was always baking up a sweet treat for the family. As times have changed, so has thoughts on healthy eating. So I was excited to start working in an environment where I could learn more about nutrition and eating more naturally. 

This was also where I was introduced to tofu. We made a few salads, for our salad bar, that used tofu. From the moment I tried it, I loved it. The more I worked with it, the more I loved finding new ways to use it. Over the years, as I became kitchen supervisor, we started hiring more people who led Vegan lifestyles. This gave me the chance to learn more about meat free cooking and eating and I also learned a few tips when it came to cooking with tofu. In the last several months, I decided to introduce my family to tofu. My first attempt, Asian Tofu, was met with great applause by my son and SO, but my daughter was not a fan of the texture of the tofu. So this time I made sure to try and create a flavour packed tofu dish. I was pleasantly surprised when she said that she would be happy if I made this dish again.

I've come to love cooking with tofu, as it is literally a blank slate. It is a great source of protein and low in fat. The tender tofu soaks up so much flavour, which makes it such a versatile ingredient in Vegan diets.

Tips while cooking with Tofu

  1. Use the type of tofu best suited for the dish you are making. Soft tofu for scrambles and firm tofu for dishes that are fried or baked.
  2. Drain and press the tofu. Tofu comes packed in water. Make sure to press all the extra liquid out before using.
  3. If frying, coat the tofu with cornstarch. This will ensure a crispy crust forms on the outside of the tofu.
  4. Don't touch the tofu! Let is sit in the hot pan for 3-5 minutes before turning, so it can sear up nicely. Again this will ensure a nice crispy outer crust.
What ingredients do I need to make Sesame Tofu?

Tahini is a paste of toasted and ground sesame seeds, which has a light nutty flavour. It is best know to be a main ingredient in hummus and is a popular ingredient in Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. It is high in B vitamins (B1 & B6), manganese and antioxidants.

Garlic is a plant from the onion family. It is low in calories and high in vitamin C, B6 and manganese.

Ginger is a plant which originated in Southeast Asia and is one of the healthiest spices on earth. Ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is also said to help calm upset stomachs.

Maple syrup is an all natural sweetener made by boiling the sap of sugar maple trees, in the spring.

Sriracha is a hot sauce, which originated in Thailand, made from chili pepper paste, distilled vinegar, salt and sugar.

Sesame oil is a cooking oil made from sesame seeds, meant to enhance dishes with a nutty aroma and flavour.

Rice vinegar or Rice Wine Vinegar is made by fermenting the sugars in rice, into alcohol, and then into vinegar.

Soy Sauce originated in China and is a liquid made from fermented soy beans. It is said to have a strong umami flavour.


Equipment needed for this recipe
  • cutting board
  • sharp knife
  • rasp/zester
  • heavy bottomed skillet
  • tongs
  • mixing bowl
  • small bowl
  • whisk
  • spatula
  • measuring cups and spoons
Pan-Fried Sesame Tofu

1 pkg extra firm tofu
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 Tbs light cooking oil (I used an avo/coco blend)
1/4 C tahini
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 Tbs Sriracha sauce
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 tsp Sesame oil
2 Tbs maple syrup
3 cloves garlic
1/2 inch ginger root
1/4 C water
sesame seeds

Remove tofu from package and place on 2 sheets of paper towel. Cover with an additional 2 sheets of paper towel and place a heavy object (such as a cast iron skillet) on top. Press the tofu for 30 minutes.

Once tofu is pressed, cut the tofu into bite size pieces, using a sharp knife. Place tofu in a mixing bowl and toss with 2 Tbs of cornstarch, until completely covered.

Heat cooking oil in a skillet, over medium high heat. Place tofu into the skillet, a single layer and do not touch for 3-5 minutes. Using tongs, turn the tofu and repeat process until all sides are browned. 

In a bowl, combine the tahini, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, maple syrup and water. Using a zester, grate in the garlic and ginger root. Whisk until well combined and smooth.

Once tofu has been browned and crisped on all sides, reduce heat to medium low and add the sauce to the skillet. Using a spatula, stir to coat tofu with sauce and cook until sauce has thickened; about 3. Remove from pan and garnish with sesame seeds.

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Comments

  1. Ive learned to eat tofu after becoming plantbased, I’ll try this recipe of yours :) thank you

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks delish! We love tofu and can't wait to try this.

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  3. This looks so good! I love tofu but the main recipe I make is garlic and eggplant stir fry. I'm totally going to try this. I follow the keto diet so I'll have to leave out the maple syrup. I'm not sure how it will taste without it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure you could substitute the maple syrup for stevia, or any other keto sweetener with a similar result :)

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  4. Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for trying my recipe!

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  5. Sounds absolutely delicious. I'm always looking for new tasty and quick plant based recipes like this one.

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  6. Thanks for the helpful tips! So flavourful and I love a crispy texture.

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  7. yummy!! i've been on a tofu run lately so this would be on rotation!

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  8. This looks delicious, Cindy! I have cooked with tofu before and liked it but I've always been a bit nervous of it. I definitely want to give this recipe a try. I enjoyed your tips on how to cook with tofu too - so helpful! Thank you for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party Community. I hope you are having a good weekend. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I wasn't a fan of tofu when I first tried it, but over time, I have come to like it. Loved your recipe, especially the crispy crust of the tofu! Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. We appreciate your shares. They have been Tweeted Pinned. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have never seen tofu look so delicious!!! Pinning for later :)

    ReplyDelete

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