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Fried Tofu with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce

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Fried Tofu with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce by SeasonWithSpice.com

I poked at it with a chopstick, watching it wobble.

“It looks like white Jello.”

“You’ve never tried tofu?” Reese asked.

 I shook my head and poked at the tofu again.  “Kind of looks like coconut Jello.”

“Not even close.”  She carefully sliced the tofu block into cubes.  “Let’s fry them up and I promise you’ll love it.”

Fried Tofu with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce by SeasonWithSpice.com

That was many years ago, before I was introduced to the wonders of soy-based foods in Asia like honeydew or papaya soy milk for a quick breakfast in Singapore, do fou fa (beancurd jelly) for dessert at night markets in Penang, and Agedashi tofu for a snack after work in Tokyo. 

And now, driving by fields and fields of soy bean crops in central Minnesota, I’m surprised I didn’t grow up with soy sauce on the kitchen counter, soy milk in the refrigerator, and fried tofu for school lunch.

Fried Tofu with Sesame Soy Dipping Sauce by SeasonWithSpice.com

Since the texture of tofu is so soft, I always make my fried tofu extra crunchy – layered first with a mix of cornstarch and white pepper, then coated with egg, and finally rolled thoroughly in panko flakes. 

The uniform size and cube shape make these especially easy to fry in a skillet with a shallow base of vegetable oil.  And in just ten minutes of frying, you have golden brown, crunchy tofu to dip into a Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce (compliments of Reese).

Asian sesame-soy dipping sauce for tofu

Fried Tofu with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce by SeasonWithSpice.com

Fried Tofu with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce recipe 
by Season with Spice 
Serves 3-4 as a side dish

Fried Tofu -
1 block (12.3oz or 349g) of extra firm tofu – I used Mori-Nu Silken Tofu
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp of Season with Spice's ground white pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup panko flakes
Vegetable oil

Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce -
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic – minced
1 serrano red chili pepper (or two Thai bird’s eye chili peppers for a spicy version) - deseeded and minced
1 spring onion – chopped
Sprinkles of Season with Spice's sesame seeds

1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, and set aside.
2. Mix cornstarch and white pepper in one small bowl. Then whisk egg in another small bowl. And finally, add in panko flakes into a third small bowl.
3. Carefully remove the tofu block from its package, since it can break easily. Slice into 16 cubes (slice block in half horizontally first, then cut into cubes).
4. Coat each tofu cube first in the cornstarch bowl, then egg, then panko flakes.
5. Add vegetable oil into skillet until it pools to only about 1/4 inch deep. Heat on medium-high fire. The oil will be ready when bubbles form around the handle of a wooden chopstick or spoon when placed in the oil (around 350-375F). [Safety note: Never heat oil unattended]
6. Place all the tofu cubes into the skillet. When one side browns, flip it over to another side. Repeat until nicely browned. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towel. Serve hot with sesame-soy dipping sauce.

For another great vegetarian side dish, try this nutrients-packed Coconut-Ginger Kale recipe.
Coconut-Ginger Kale recipe by SeasonWithSpice.com


kankana said...

My husband will not even tough tofu. These fried ones are looking so tempting. I might just make it for myself sometime!

Rosa May said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mel said...

Mmmm...... I loves tofu. This fried tofu must be super delicious! I'm going to bookmark this. Thank you!

BiteMyCake said...

I've never had tofu made this way, thanks for this lovely recipe!

mjskit @ mjskitchen.com said...

This is some of the best fried tofu I've ever seen! So the trick is cornstarch, egg, then panko. Good to know! Can't wait to give it a try and then serve it with that wonderful dipping sauce!

Season with Spice said...

You might change his mind if your deep fry them:) Good luck!

Season with Spice said...

Thanks MJ, enjoy!

Maja Matus said...

I never tried tofu, but I love, love, love this sauce :D

justonecookbook said...

Such appetizing photos Mark! I deep fry tofu, but usually with potato starch/corn starch. I should try with panko next time, and your dipping sauce sounds perfect... I can imagine biting to this. Crispy outside and soft warm (or hot!) inside... great appetizer!

Savory Simple said...

I cannot wait to try this!

Season with Spice said...

Go for it, Nami. You'll love the extra crunch

Ira Rodrigues said...

How can I live without tofu! I've gone insane for 4 years without tofu in Goa-India! this definitely gonna be my favorite tofu recipe. I love the looks and ingredients compo for the dipping sauce. book-marked right away!

Season with Spice said...

Thanks Ira! Didn't realize you were in Goa for four years. That must have been an amazing experience.

Labl said...

Can't wait to try this! What do I replace the egg with to make it vegan? Have you ever marinated it in something?

Season with Spice said...

Hi Labl,

I haven't tried it with anything other than egg, but for a vegan version, I suppose you could try substituting soy milk. If you do, please leave another comment on how it turned out.

We haven't marinated the tofu before, but we have tried different spices in with the cornstarch, like adding in a teaspoon of curry powder, or a mix of pure red chili powder and turmeric (a good way for those out there looking to add more turmeric into their diet). But most of the time, we keep it simple and let the sauce do all the flavoring.



rvank said...

This looks incredible! Yum!

Jo said...

Your pictures are lovely, would love for you to share your pictures with us at foodepix.com.

Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious said...

I'm a huge tofu lover (even when not fried) so this version here is freaking amazing. I'll have to get some extra tofu on my next grocery run so I can make this ASAP!

Season with Spice said...

Thanks Chung-Ah. We love tofu in all kinds of preparation too. This one is a great one to convert a newbie to tofu:)

siri said...

OMG...these look stunning..am really hungry now

PhoenixFoodie said...

I saw this yesterday and it made me want them right away so I got everything I need and made them last night! They turned out fantastic, thanks for sharing!

Lucie said...

Wow just made these and they are delicious, i'm not vegeterian but my son is, can't wait to cook those for him. The sauce is great to. Thanks for that recipe!!!!!!

Classyant said...

I eat tufu every now and then. This was great...Loved it!

Season with Spice said...

That's great, Lucie, I hope your son enjoys them too

Season with Spice said...

No problem, thanks for trying out the recipe

Chau said...

I just tried the tofu recipe today, absolutely delicious!

SeasonWithSpice said...

We are a big tofu eaters at home and yes we drink soy milk too. My son brings school lunch everyday and tofu fried or braise are one of his favorites. Your food makes me hungry right now.


SeasonWithSpice said...

I usually cut a block of tofu in thin large slices and just deepfry it tills its crispy, then in sauce similar to this...but doing it in Panko ! That sounds wonderful!

SeasonWithSpice said...

yummy! this sounds delicious. I like this recipe, best is it sounds simple & easy for a first-timer! never knew how to make Tofu appealing to my family, like said any thing fried & with the right dipping is tasty!. will definitely try it. thanks for sharing.

SeasonWithSpice said...

Mark, I just made them....what can I say? "Out of this world good!"!
Thank you for sharing.

SeasonWithSpice said...

Hello, how’s it
going? Just shared this post with a colleague, we had a good laugh.


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