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Pan-fried Tofu with Dark Sweet Soy Sauce

Wow! It’ been almost 2 years since I’ve made this dish! It’s one of our favorite tofu dishes. It packs a lot of flavor and isn’t very time consuming, which makes it perfect for a weeknight meal. I make this as a main course, served over rice, and it’s perfect for me and my husband. Sometimes we have a couple pieces of tofu leftover…and sometimes, like tonight, we polish off the whole thing. Yum!! I like adding a squeeze of lemon juice over the top of this after plating it. If you’re new to tofu (or afraid of it), this dish may be the one to convert you! Just make sure you let it get nice and brown on both sides so you really get to enjoy the contrast of crisp and smooth. If you substitute another sweetener for the honey, this would be a nice, vegan meal.

Pan-fried Tofu with Dark Sweet Soy Sauce

Pan-fried Tofu with Dark Sweet Soy Sauce
The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s DinnerJaden Hair

Serves 4 as part of a multicourse meal

2 tablespoons Chinese dark soy sauce*
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sambal oelek (or other chili garlic hot sauce)
1 14 oz. block firm tofu
2 tablespoons high-heat cooking oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 fresh chili of your choice, sliced (optional)
1 green onion (scallion), sliced or chopped

1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar and sambal oelek. Mix and set aside.

2. Cut the block of tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place 3 layers of paper towels on a clean, dry work surface. Arrange 3 of the tofu slices and fold the paper over, pressing down to squeeze out some water. Repeat with all remaining slices.

3. Set a large frying pan over high heat. Pour enough oil to coat the surface. Add the tofu slices into the pan but not touching each other. (You may have to fry in 2 batches.) Fry the tofu until the bottom is gold-brown, about 2-3 min. Tofu slices will release themselves from the pan when they are ready. Carefully flip the tofu, away from you (the tofu may splatter) to fry on the other side. Remove from the pan and drain on a rack or paper towel.

4. Drain all but 1 teaspoon of cooking oil from the pan and return to medium heat. When the pan is hot, add garlic and fry until fragrant, about 15-30 sec. Pour in the soy sauce mixture and let simmer for 30 seconds to thicken slightly. Pour the sauce over the tofu. Top with fresh chili and green onion.

*Optional: use Gluten Free

BigFlavors Rating: 5 Stars

Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


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