Marinated Sesame Tofu

Marinated tofuHere's the great debate at our house: raw fish, delicious or super weird in texture? Trey loves it. He enjoys sushi, sashimi and lightly seared ahi tuna (so it's still mostly raw in the center, in case you've never had this before). I wish I was cool and liked sushi. I always find something I can enjoy when we do eat sushi. But, I don't know, I just don't like the texture of raw fish very much. It's too bad since I mainly stick to a pescatarian diet. 

Boo Emma!Sesame tofuThis recipe has nothing to do with raw fish. It's about tofu. But it's tofu that has been cleverly disguised similarly to many ahi tuna steaks I've seen at restaurants. I always love when a place does black and white sesame crusted anything, but I feel like it's usually ahi tuna. Which, as discussed, I don't love. So I just have to hope that Trey orders it. 

But I cook. So I'm in control of my own eating destiny. (Dramatic, no?) Therefore, I made my own tofu version. I've also been wanting to experiment with marinating tofu. Here's what I did. How to marinate tofuMarinated Sesame Tofu, serves two.

12 oz. tofu
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg + 1 teaspoon water
1/2 cup sesame seeds (I used black and white)
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
serve with rice, peanuts and chives 

First we marinate the tofu. Remove the tofu from the package and drain away the liquid. Pat the tofu dry with a few paper towels. Place the tofu block in a bowl. Stir together the olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes. Pour over the tofu. It's best if you can let this marinate for a few hours (rotating every 20-30 minutes) but if you only have an hour that'll work too. 🙂How to pan fry tofuNext make three plates to coat the tofu. One plate has the flour and corn starch. The second plate has the egg whisked together with the water. The third plate has the sesame seeds and bread crumbs. Drain the tofu from the marinade. Cut into smaller "steaks." Dip in the flour/cornstarch, then into the egg, and finally into the sesame seed mix. Be sure to coat all sides.

Pan fry in a couple teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. I found that using tongs helped me more easily move the tofu steaks around and set them on every edge so they got cooked on each side. Marinated sesame tofuServe hot along side a little steamed rice. Have soy sauce and sriracha handy too, to offer even more flavor. Enjoy this healthy dinner option! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photogrpahy: Emma Chapman

  • For starters, two words: “Thanks” & “YUM”!
    After taking an extended (years long) break from tofu (because every time I used it in a recipe it was so… blah), I decided it was time to try again. Thanks to your (easy to follow) recipe, I am actually excited to start cooking with tofu again! The marinade imparted a beautiful slightly-sweet/slightly-spicy flavor to the tofu and the texture was just the right amount of tender (but not mushy) on the inside and crispy on the outside. When I brought the dish to the table and my significant other (who does not prefer tofu, to put it politely) asked, “What is that?”, I think it helped open his mind when I replied, “Tofu steaks” instead of just saying,”Tofu” 😉 He even helped himself to seconds! Thanks again!!!

  • It would be even better to cut the tofu before marinating so more surface area gets the marinade. 🙂

  • These are perfect for meatless monday! Thanks for sharing!!

    xx, Alex

  • that looks so amazing! not usually a tofu fan, but i would love to make this!!


  • this looks amazing! i love tuna as is, but i definitely want to give this tofu version a try. what a great vegetarian twist!

  • Um this looks yum! I love the “in control of my own eating destiny.” That’s how I feel at home too haha that’s perfect.

  • Thank you! New years resolution was just made a little easier. I can’t wait to try this!

  • This looks fabulous! Loving a healthy dinner option that isn’t the same old salad 🙂

  • mmmmm this recipe intrigues me! xo

  • Dang, I thought you had posted a vegan recipe. But then I saw the egg :/
    Your recipes always look so good but I don’t ever see vegan ones.

  • I’ve been looking for a new way to prepare tofu and somehow my deep fried everything loving self has never thought to use flour and/or breadcrumbs. Thanks for the tip!

  • Can I ask how you steam the rice? Cooker or stove top? And what kind of rice? Oh man, I’m a huge newbie on this for forgive me!

  • My mom has made this for a long time! If you have access to an Asian market they sell a Nori Gomei mix in a bottle that’s awesome!

  • That looks delicious! It’s right up my alley! I don’t eat seafood (or meat) but I loooove tofu and also veggie sushi! No raw fish, just avocado, veggies, etc. in the middle. YUM!


  • I’ve never worked with tofu at home but this seems like a good recipe to try for beginners. Besides, I’ll eat anything with Panko on it. Also I’m with you on the raw fish debate. If it’s a really small piece or super thinly sliced I can do it but not otherwise.

  • That is really perfect recipe. I am vegetarian so I need vege recipes like this one. Is perfect. xa

  • I’m so bad at cooking tofu (even though I loooooove it), so I’m always wary about trying new dishes. But this looks so yummy that I want to try it!

  • Mmm, this looks yummy! I don’t like raw fish either, but my hubby loves sushi. Maybe I’ll try this instead of California rolls! I’ve honestly never tried tofu, but this may be the time to take the plunge!

  • Looks delicious! I’ve still never had tofu, but all the recipes you post using it as an ingredient convince me more and more to try it out! Now that I have my own kitchen, I can’t wait to explore every night with a new meal (and tofu, too!).


  • i love raw fish, but that tofu looks phenomenal!

    Molly {Dreams in HD}

  • Yum! I love tofu! I will definitely try this!
    🙂 Liz @

  • not only does this look as if it tastes absolutely amazing, it’s such an aesthetically pleasing dish to serve! adding this to my list of things to make in 2014! thanks ladies!

    xx lovefromberlin !

  • Yummy- that looks great! One of my New Year’s resolutions is eating less meat and this recipe could really help giving an alternative.

    My other big resolution is this:

    Love from Germany,

  • Yum! The texture looks delish. I cannot wait to try this. I love when you post recipes for vegetarians.

    xo, Juliette Laura

  • yum!!! so doing this im obsessed with tofu so happy to have another idea to do with it! xx. gigi.

  • I love this! I am in high school and our lunches are terrible, so maybe I’ll be creative and take a page from your book! Can’t wait to try it 🙂

  • I love anything sushi, I’ll eat almost everything, but I agree sometimes raw fish is really unappealing. But this tofu dish looks delicious, I’ve never done my own tofu, but this makes me want to give it a try 🙂

  • Yum! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  • This looks amazing! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to cook more….and the microwave does NOT count. Will definitely have to try this!

  • I’ve never tried tuna – it’s definitely a texture thing. But, I do love a well prepared tofu dish! This meal looks delicious, and sriracha is a great idea.


  • Hey Emma! I have a great tip, after years of doing the 3 step coating process I’ve found a way to simplify with amazing results!
    Marinate the tofu overnight, then drain/press between paper towels. For your coating use cornstarch & Panko in a 2:1 ratio and salt & pepper. Here you can also add Sesame seeds of my fave, shredded coconut. Just coat all side & pan fry them up in a cast iron skillet! The tofu turns out so amazingly crispy, and without the extra steps and mess (and calories of eggs or for vegans like me 😉 ) I serve it with the sweet chili sauce & lots of Sriracha! 🙂

  • I have some tofu sat in my cupboard, I think I might know what I’m eating tonight now 🙂

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