This crispy tofu is drenched in a teriyaki glaze that packs a flavorful punch. It comes together in less than 30 minutes for the perfect weeknight meal or Sunday meal prep!
Tofu. It can seem weird. And if you’re not a vegetarian, you might wonder why you would even try it when you can just use chicken. But hear me out, tofu is cheaper than most cuts of meat, cooking with new and different things is fun, and guess what, it actually tastes good.
This tofu gets wonderfully golden brown and crispy, and then we take it a step further and drench it in a sweet, gingery soy sauce that quickly reduces to a thick and sticky glaze that you’ll want to eat straight with a spoon.
If you haven’t cooked with tofu before, there are some key tips you need to know.
- Extra firm tofu is necessary here. This is found in the refrigerated section at your grocery store, usually in the natural section or at the end of the meats or dairy area.
- You’ll want to drain the block of tofu much as possible before using. It comes packed in water, so you’ll want to dump that out and further drain the excess liquid. There are a few ways to do this, I place the tofu between a few layers of paper towels and two plates, then put something heavy on top. See my super professional set up below.
- Don’t move the tofu around while it’s cooking. We want a high heat to sear it and get the outside crispy golden brown, and you risk it breaking up if you try to move it before it has a chance to cook some.
(The Flavor Bible is fantastic for discovering new flavor and food combinations; I cannot recommend Run Fast Eat Slow enough, I absolutely love this book; and then there’s Hamilton. Because we’re intellectuals around here.)
The tofu should drain for at least 15 minutes, but you can get everything else ready while you’re waiting. I recommend serving this with brown rice and roasted broccoli, so start your rice (the Instant Pot is great for this!) and toss your broccoli on a sheet pan and roast it in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Of course, any other grain or roasted veggies would work great here too.
Once your tofu is drained, we’re going to slice it into planks. You can also do cubes, but I found the planks are simpler to get a golden brown crust on just two sides instead of six sides with a cube. I recommend dusting each side with some cornstarch, though it is not totally necessary as long as you have a hot pan and don’t mess with the tofu while it’s cooking. It creates a little bit better of a crust than without.
A cast iron skillet works great to get the crispy golden brown crust we’re looking for. If you don’t have one, definitely consider adding it to your kitchen essentials! It’s not a huge investment (the standard Lodge 12″ is $20 at Target!), and I really use it almost daily.
Lay your tofu planks down on the heated skillet and wait. Don’t move them around or poke at them, just let them cook for 5 minutes. Then flip to the other side and cook for another 4-5 minutes. See the picture below for that nice golden brown color we’re going for.
Perhaps the best part about this recipe is the tangy sauce, and if you have a well stocked pantry you likely have everything you need to whip it up already. You’ll recognize most of the flavors of a standard teriyaki sauce here: soy sauce, honey, ginger, and garlic; then we finish off with a dash of sesame oil for an extra boost.
It reduces in the pan to form a nice sticky glaze, the tofu soaks up all the deliciousness, and any extra you have left in the pan can be used to drizzle over the final dish.
This recipe does come together rather quickly, and works great with a number of side options! Do you cook with tofu often, or are you on team meat all the way? Let me know in the comments!
Crispy Teriyaki Tofu with Brown Rice and Roasted Broccoli
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup brown rice
- 3 medium heads broccoli
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- sesame seeds for topping
Drain as much water from the tofu as possible. Unless you have a tofu press, the best way to do this is place the block between several paper towels on a pate, then top with another plate and weight it down with cookbooks, cans of beans, or anything else heavy you have laying around. Let drain for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the broccoli into small florets and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until just fork tender.
Start your grains. If you're using brown rice and don't have an instant pot, this could take longer to cook. In an instant pot, add rice with 1 1/4 cups water hit multigrain, low pressure, and set the time to 20 minutes. On the stove top, use 2 cups of water to 1 cup rice. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cover for 40-45 minutes, until tender.
While the tofu is draining, make your sauce. Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl and set aside.
Slice the tofu into planks and dust with cornstarch.
Preheat a cast iron skillet on the stove. Once hot, add the tofu and cook for 4-5 minutes on one side, then flip over and cook another 3-4 minutes. Don't move the tofu around while cooking, it needs to stay put to get a nice golden brown crust on each side.
Add sauce to the tofu, and bring to a simmer. Spoon the sauce over the tofy planks occasionally to allow it to soak in all the goodness. Simmer for 5 minutes, until sauce has thickened.
Remove from heat and serve with brown rice and roasted broccoli. You'll have some extra sauce left in the pan, pour that into a dish and drizzle over your plate for added deliciousness.
Top with sesame seeds and enjoy!