Sesame Tofu

Sesame Tofu often plays second fiddle to General Tso’s in the symphony of takeout favorites, yet it deserves a spotlight of its own. Its charm lies in the straightforward yet profound interplay of nutty and savory flavors, where sesame oil and seeds come together to create a texture and taste that is uniquely satisfying. The glistening, golden-brown tofu pieces not only look inviting but offer a delightful crunch that is music to the palate.

In my kitchen, crafting the perfect Sesame Tofu begins with pressing and slicing extra firm tofu to maximize its surface area for browning. As the tofu sizzles to perfection, I whisk together a sauce that’s deceptively simple—soy sauce for depth, a touch of sugar for balance, and a generous pour of sesame oil for that unmistakable aroma. Once combined, the sauce transforms into a velvety glaze that clings to each piece of tofu, ensuring every bite is infused with flavor.

To serve, I like laying a foundation of fluffy jasmine rice, placing the glossy tofu atop, and sprinkling over a handful of freshly toasted sesame seeds for an extra crunch. Whether it’s a busy weeknight or a leisurely weekend meal, this Sesame Tofu is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in cooking. If you’re looking to elevate it further, applying the frying technique from my Orange Tofu recipe adds an exceptional layer that enhances the dish’s textural contrast.

Sesame Tofu


  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ginger minced
  • 2 tsp sriracha or chili paste optional, for heat


  • Combine Liquid Ingredients: In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, water, and rice vinegar.
  • Sweeten and Spice: Add the brown sugar to the liquid mixture and stir until the sugar is dissolved. If you like a bit of heat, include the sriracha or chili paste.
  • Prepare Cornstarch Slurry: In a separate small bowl, mix the cornstarch with a little water until smooth. This will help thicken the sauce.
  • Cook Garlic and Ginger: Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add a bit more sesame oil, then sauté the minced garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add Liquid Mixture to Pan: Pour the liquid mixture into the saucepan with the garlic and ginger, stirring well to combine.
  • Thicken the Sauce: Stir in the cornstarch slurry to the saucepan. Keep stirring continuously until the sauce begins to thicken and becomes glossy, which should take about 3-5 minutes.
  • Finish with Sesame Seeds: Once the sauce is thickened to your liking, remove from heat and stir in the toasted sesame seeds.
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