You can make this delicious Crispy Sesame Tofu, 脆皮芝麻豆腐 (Cuì pí zhī ma dòu fu) in 30-minutes! If you are looking for new ways to enjoy tofu, this recipe is for you. It has a crispy outer layer filled with aromatic sesame seeds and served with a simple sweet soy sauce.
I was inspired to make a different version of Sesame chicken with less sauce and used tofu in the recipe. I used frozen then thawed tofu and apply a generous amount of white sesame seeds before they are shallow-fried.
If you are in a time crunch, simply drain out a package of firm tofu, slice it, and then marinate with the sauce. I find that the only difference between frozen and fresh tofu is the texture and the water content. It’s easier to fry or pan-fry when the water content is low but didn’t affect the taste much.
You’ll notice that I’m using white sesame seeds in this recipe unlike most of my other recipes that call for toasted ones. I bought a bag of white sesame seeds to make the sesame balls. I find that white sesame seeds can withstand the heat longer without turning brown.
The white sesame seeds also give the tofu a wonderful toasted flavor and a great aesthetics. Now, let’s check out how to make it with the simple steps below.
Crispy Sesame Tofu Step-by-Step
Prepare the tofu by cutting it into 4 slabs. Since I’m using frozen tofu, I thawed it and pressed out the liquid again before use. Please skip this step if you are using fresh firm tofu.
To make the marinade, bruise the green onion and cilantro with the back of your knife. Alternatively, you can use a pestle to pound these herbs. Transfer these to a bowl.
To the same bowl, add the rest of the sauce ingredients.
Marinate the tofu slabs evenly in this sauce.
Now, prepare the serving sauce. Heat a non-stick and sauté the green onions until fragrant. Then, add the sauce ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Sieve the sauce to a bowl.
Next, prepare the batter by whisking rice flour and water in a bowl. Rub the tofu slabs with this thick paste and set it aside for few minutes.
Sprinkle white sesame seeds on all sides and press them lightly on the tofu so the sesame seeds stick to it.
Heat a small pan and fill about 1cm tall oil in it. Once the oil is heated through, carefully slide in the tofu slabs. Shallow-fry until golden brown on each side. Remove and drain on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
To serve, cut the tofu into slices and drizzle the sauce all over. Serve as-is or with a bowl of rice. Enjoy!
Crispy Sesame Tofu Cooking Tips
Can I air-fry or bake the tofu? Of course!
Air fryer method – Once the tofu is coated with sesame seeds, dab a thin layer of oil at the top. Now, brush a thin layer of oil in the air-fryer inner basket. Place the tofu (the side without oil) on the air fryer. Air-fry using the ‘fries’ settings for about 10-12 minutes. The cooking time varies depending on how thick you cut the tofu. Be sure to check in between to see if you need to flip the tofu or move it around.
Bake method – Similar to above, brush the tofu with oil before placing them on a greased baking pan. Bake in a preheated oven of 425°F (220°C) until crispy. I prefer to use cooking oil that can withstand high heat such as avocado oil.
Why use white sesame seeds?
I used white sesame seeds because they won’t brown or burnt too easily during cooking. If you can’t find raw or white sesame seeds, toasted sesame seeds can be used. They will turn darker after cooking.
Frozen tofu vs fresh tofu
They both work great in this recipe. It’s more on personal’s preference on how you like the tofu’s texture to be. For fresh tofu, it may take a little longer to get the crispiness that you like due to the liquid content. In that case, I suggest that you drain the tofu overnight to remove as much liquid as possible.
Check out my other Tofu Recipes
This Crispy Sesame Tofu is
- Perfect for make-ahead meals
- Great for finger-food
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Crispy Sesame Tofu – 脆皮芝麻豆腐
- 14 oz firm tofu drained and freeze
- raw sesame seeds
- Chopped cilantro and green onions
- oil for cooking and frying
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon grated ginger
- pinch of white pepper
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup
- 1½ tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon ShaoXing wine or vegetable broth
- 2 stalks of green onion
- 3 sprigs of cilantro
- 4 tablespoons rice flour
- 2 tablespoons water or more if needed
- 2 stalks of green onions roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- a few shakes of white pepper
- a drizzle of toasted sesame oil
- First, thaw the frozen tofu to room temperature. Squeeze out the water and cut into 4 slabs. If you are using fresh tofu, drain out as much water as you can before cutting into slabs.
- Prepare the marinade: Bruise the green onion stalks and cilantro sprigs with the back of the knife.
- Transfer them to a bowl and add the remaining tofu marinade ingredients. Stir to combine.
- Marinate the tofu: Add the tofu slabs to the bowl and rub the marinade all over the tofu until incorporated.
- Now, mix the rice flour and water into a thick paste.
- Coat the marinated tofu with a thin layer of batter and set them aside for a few minutes.
- Sprinkle a layer of sesame seeds on a flat plate, then coat all sides of the tofu with sesame seeds. Lightly press the sesame seeds onto the tofu so they stick to it.
- Heat a non-stick pan and fill it with a thin layer of oil, about 1cm.
- Once the oil is heated, carefully slide the tofu in and shallow-fry until golden brown on all sides.
- Remove and place tofu on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- To make the sweet sauce, heat a non-stick pan and add a drizzle of oil.
- Then, sauté the green onions until fragrant.
- Turn the heat to low and add the soy sauce, water, sugar, and white pepper. Stir until the sugar has melted.
- Turn off the heat and add a swirl of toasted sesame oil. Sieve the sauce into a bowl.
- To serve, slice the tofu into your desired size and serve with the sauce above. Enjoy as-is or with a bowl of rice.