Asian Marinated Tofu

Tofu Marinade and Sauce With Rice Vinegar
The Spruce
  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 16 pieces (2 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
392 Calories
28g Fat
11g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16 pieces (2 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 392
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 36%
Saturated Fat 4g 21%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2378mg 103%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Protein 29g
Calcium 784mg 60%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tofu is a wonderful source of protein for vegetarians and offers a substitute for meat, chicken, and fish. While its extremely mild taste can make a dish quite bland, it also makes tofu the perfect ingredient for implementing a flavorful marinade.

This tofu marinade made with rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili paste does double duty as a marinade and a sauce. Pressing the tofu and then dry-frying before marinating removes all of the moisture, enabling the tofu to really soak up the flavors. The recipe is designed to have extra marinade to add to the stir-fry at the end to make a sauce.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons​ light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons​ extra virgin​ olive oil
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, pressed, cut into triangles, and​ dry-fried
  • Optional: Cornstarch slurry

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Tofu marinade recipe
    The Spruce
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together ​the rice vinegar, light and dark soy sauces, Asian sesame oil, sugar, chili paste, garlic, and olive oil.

    Tofu marinade recipe
    The Spruce
  3. Cover and refrigerate while preparing and dry frying the tofu if you haven't done so already.

    Tofu marinade recipe
    The Spruce
  4. Put the marinade in a large bowl or large resealable plastic bag. Add the dry-fried tofu pieces.

    Tofu marinade recipe
    The Spruce
  5. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally to make sure all the tofu pieces are covered.

    Tofu marinade recipe
    The Spruce
  6. Drain the tofu, reserving the tofu marinade to use as a sauce at the end of stir-frying. Thicken with a cornstarch slurry if desired.

    Tofu marinade recipe
    The Spruce
  7. Stir-fry and enjoy!

    Tofu marinade recipe
    The Spruce

Recipe Tips

It is important that you use extra-firm tofu for this recipe, as well as similar recipes that involve marinating and stir-frying. There are different types of tofu, from silken and soft, to firm and extra-firm; the water content of the softer tofus is higher than the firmer types, so when you are looking to marinate and stir-fry tofu, you should choose extra-firm.

Tofu is usually sold in a package filled with water, which keeps the tofu from drying out. But it also results in wet and water-logged tofu, making it harder for the soybean curd to absorb a marinade and remain intact. Pressing the blocks of tofu beforehand will help remove some of this liquid. Simply place the tofu between paper towel and weigh down with a plate or cutting board topped with something heavy, like a frying pan, a large can of food, or even a big cookbook. Let the tofu sit for about half an hour.

To remove even more moisture, you can dry-fry the tofu. This simple process involves slicing the tofu into smaller pieces (triangles work best) and placing in a hot, non-stick frying pan without any oil. Cook until golden, pressing on the tofu with a spatula to release more water. Flip and repeat the process for the other side.