Asian Marinated Tofu

Asian Marinated Tofu

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
392 Calories
28g Fat
11g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
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 / Kristina Vanni

  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 / Kristina Vanni

  3. Cover and refrigerate while preparing and dry frying the tofu if you haven't done so already.

    Tofu marinade in a bowl covered with plastic wrap

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    tofu and marinade in a plastic bag

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    tofu and marinade in a plastic bag

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  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.

    drain the tofu and reserve the sauce

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Stir-fry and enjoy!

    Asian Marinated Tofu

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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.