clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Pan-fried tofu cubes with sesame-garlic soy glaze, on a gray plate with sesame seeds and scallions.

Sesame Garlic Tofu

  • Author: Alexandra Shytsman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Asian
  • Diet: Vegan


Sticky takeout-style sesame tofu with garlic and ginger. This vegan one-pan wonder is sure to become a staple.


  • One 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch (or cornstarch), divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 23 tablespoons avocado, refined coconut, or organic canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 teaspoon mild vinegar (like apple cider, white wine, or unseasoned rice vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed, grated, or finely minced
  • 1-inch knob ginger, peeled, and grated or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Sesame seeds and scallions, for serving


  1. Start by pressing the tofu [in a tofu press, or]: drain tofu, place it on a plate, then top with another plate or cutting board, and weigh it down with something heavy (like a couple of cans), to squeeze out as much water as possible. Let stand for about 15 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water.
  2. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon arrowroot, and pinches of salt and pepper. Gently toss with your hands to coat. Then sprinkle with another tablespoon of arrowroot and toss again.
  3. Heat enough oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat to evenly cover the bottom. Add the tofu in a single layer, making sure the cubes aren’t touching; depending on the size of your pan, you may need to brown them in two batches (see note below). Cook undisturbed until a golden crust forms on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Then flip with tongs and cook the other sides, browning 3-4 sides in total.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, water, maple syrup, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and the remaining teaspoon of arrowroot.
  5. [When the tofu is done, if there is too much oil left in the pan, transfer tofu to a plate and drain the oil. Then return tofu to the pan.]
  6. Add the sauce mixture to the pan and quickly toss until it thickens and coats the cubes. Turn the heat off.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve immediately.


The arrowroot makes the tofu kinda sticky, which is why the cubes shouldn’t be touching in the pan. No big deal if they stick together a bit, though – they’ll get unstuck when you add the sauce.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
  • Calories: 190
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.4 g
  • Protein: 10.3 g

Keywords: sesame, tofu, pan fried, vegan

Tofu with tomatoes.

Never Miss a Recipe

Subscribe + get my 30-Minute Plant-Based Meals e-book for free!