Mongolian Tofu

Mongolian cuisine is not typically known for its subtlety, and my vegan Mongolian Tofu is a celebration of that boldness. It’s a dish that packs a punch with its intense flavors of garlic and ginger, anchored by a rich soy sauce base that’s both sweet and savory. The key here is the caramelization of the sauce, which creates a sticky, sweet coating around the crispy tofu—a texture that’s as pleasing to the bite as it is to the eye.

The preparation of Mongolian Tofu starts with getting the tofu just right; extra firm tofu is cut into cubes and fried until each piece boasts a crisped exterior and a soft, yielding interior. This texture contrast is crucial as it allows the tofu to soak up the robust sauce effectively. The sauce itself is a concoction of soy sauce, a dash of brown sugar to enhance the caramel notes, and a healthy amount of garlic and ginger to keep the flavors grounded and vibrant.

To finish, I stir in chopped green onions and a mix of bell peppers or carrots, adding a splash of color and a burst of freshness that complements the richness of the sauce. This dish is best served hot, with steaming white rice or soft noodles, making sure every spoonful carries a bit of that saucy magic. For those who enjoy a bit more complexity in texture, incorporating the frying method from my Kung Pao Tofu recipe can turn this dish into an unforgettable culinary adventure.

Mongolian Tofu


  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup cold water for the cornstarch slurry
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional, for heat
  • 2 green onions chopped (for garnish)


  • Combine Base Ingredients: In a saucepan, combine soy sauce, the first measure of water (1/2 cup), and brown sugar. Heat over medium, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Sauté Aromatics: In a separate small pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the minced ginger and garlic, sautéing until fragrant but not browned, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Mix Aromatics with Sauce: Add the sautéed ginger and garlic to the soy sauce mixture, stirring to combine.
  • Prepare Cornstarch Slurry: In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water until smooth. This slurry will help thicken the sauce.
  • Thicken the Sauce: Bring the sauce mixture to a light simmer, then add the cornstarch slurry. Stir continuously as the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add Heat: If you like a bit of spice, stir in the crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Final Touches: Remove from heat once the sauce reaches your desired consistency. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
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