Tofu has gotten a bad rap over the years, chiefly the complaints have been it’s too bland and/or the consistency is off. This Sesame Crusted Tofu leaves all of those preconceived notions behind and what you get is tofu that is amazingly crisp and flavorful!
The marinade helps to infuse flavor into the tofu, which absorbs it like a sponge. Conversely, given it’s spongy nature, the panko-sesame mixture adds a wonderful crunch – creating a delicious balance of flavor and texture. Seriously, it’s SO crispy that when you slice into it, you will hear a loud crunch! Now that’s what I’m talking about!
The dipping sauce adds a complimentary acid to the dish and marries beautifully with the other flavors! One bite,and you’ll realize this is not like most tofu dishes.
This dish is in regular rotation in our home, and there are never any leftovers! It’s definitely one of our favorites!
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup mirin
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 20 ounces ultra firm tofu*
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko
- ¼ cup white sesame seeds
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds
- vegetable oil for cooking
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (2 tablespoons set aside for dipping sauce)
- Dipping Sauce
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons mirin
- 2 tablespoons scallions, sliced
- Using a clean tea towel, firmly press the block of tofu to remove any excess moisture. Slice the tofu to ½ an inch in thickness, then slice to a manageable width (approximately 2-3 inches wide).
- To make the marinade, mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin, and sesame oil in a large zip-top bag. Add the tofu slices, close the bag, and gently move the tofu around to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, periodically turning the bag to coat all sides of the tofu.
- Remove the tofu from the marinade and remove the excess moisture by pressing each piece firmly between several paper towels.
- To set up your dipping station, beat one egg with 1 tablespoon of water in a bowl. In a separate bowl, add the panko and sesame seeds – stir well.
- Working with one slice at a time, dip the tofu in the egg mixture, being sure to coat the entire piece. Then transfer the tofu to the panko-sesame mixture, turning and pressing to coat. Transfer the sesame crusted slices to a large dish and momentarily set aside.
- Over medium-high heat, add enough oil to cover the bottom of a heavy-bottomed skillet. Once hot, add the tofu slices in batches. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden-brown. Lift the tofu out of the skillet and allow them to cool on a plate lined with a few paper towels.
- As the tofu is cooling, make the dipping sauce by combining the lime juice, fish sauce, mirin, and scallions in a small bowl.
- Once cool enough to handle, slice each tofu piece into bite-sized pieces. Garnish with scallions and serve with the dipping sauce. Enjoy!
* If you can find ‘Ultra Firm Tofu’ that will work best. However, if you can only find ‘Extra Firm Tofu’, you will have to remove the excess moisture. Start by placing a colander in the sink. Place the block of tofu in the colander and then place the plastic tray the tofu came in or a small plate on top of the tofu. Then place some form of canned goods on top. Allow the tofu to drain for at least an hour.