You can make this sambal tofu in about 30 minutes. Combine sambal, ginger, garlic and toasted sesame oil together to make this delicious marinade. Transfer the marinated tofu to a hot cast iron pan to develop a little crispy sear. Finish up by adding the marinade to the pan to slightly reduce and create a luscious and thick sauce.
There are lots of things to marinate tofu in but, to maximize flavor, you can always follow one approach for good results: water out, marinade in. If you don’t get out all of the moisture in the tofu, two things happen: the marinade can’t get into all of the tofu’s nooks and crannies and the marinade gets all watered down. Then your tofu won’t be as delicious and flavorful as it can be!
More tofu recipes that are perfect for weeknight dinners!
Double-Dredged Tofu with Gochujang Glaze
Buttermilk-Battered + Air-Fried Tofu
How to press tofu for marinating
To get as much moisture as you can out of the tofu, I always towel press it. There are all kinds of gadgets and methods, but I like towel pressing the best. It’s simple and always yields good results. You simply cut your tofu into eight slabs and lay them onto a towel in two rows. Place about 10 pounds of coffee table books over the top, leave it alone for an hour, then you have tofu that’s perfect for marinating.
Check out my tutorial on towel-pressing tofu and note how cute Tofu B is!
How to serve this sambal tofu with spicy ginger sauce
I serve this crispy tofu with rice or noodles (or even mashed potatoes!) and a little vegan kimchi for some funky crunch on the side. It’s a super fast and delicious weeknight dinner that smells heavenly and tastes even better.Print
Sambal Tofu with Spicy Ginger Sauce
- Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings
- Diet: Vegan
This sambal tofu with spicy ginger sauce is a hearty and delicious dinner! Seared tofu is cooked in a flavorful sauce with ginger, garlic, sambal and toasted sesame oil that reduces and thickens. The end result is an amazing texture and a thick sauce that’s so full of flavor with a spicy little kick.
for the marinade + tofu
- 1/2 cup mirin
- 3 TB toasted sesame oil
- 2 TB soy sauce
- 1 TB sambal
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 4–6 cloves garlic grated on a microplane grater
- 1 piece of thumb-sized ginger, grated on a microplane grater
- 1 block firm tofu, cut into 6–8 evenly sized slabs and towel pressed for about an hour
for the rest
- 2–4 heads of baby bok choy, base sliced off
- prepared rice or noodles
- sesame seeds
- scallions, thai chilis and/or vegan kimchi
to make the marinade
- Combine all marinade ingredients except for the tofu in a medium-sized glass pyrex.
- Place the properly cut and pressed tofu into the marinade, flipping to cover on both sides.
- Place into refrigerator for a few hours, flipping after 2 or 3 hours to ensure even coverage.
to cook the tofu and reduce the marinade
- Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Place the tofu into the hot pan and allow to brown on one side (no more than 2-3 minutes per side). Flip and repeat on the other side.
- Remove the tofu, then pour the remaining marinade into the cast iron pan. Allow to sizzle until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
to prepare the bok choy
- Place the bok choy into an air fryer set at 350 until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.
- You can alternatively wilt the bok choy in a hot pan with a little oil.
- Distribute the tofu onto two plates. Drizzle the reduced sauce over both. Add the bok choy and rice/noodles as desired, along with sesame seeds, sliced scallions and kimchi. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Marinating Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Lunch, Dinner
- Method: Marinated, Seared, Air Fried
- Cuisine: Indonesian, Asian
Keywords: crispy tofu, spicy tofu
I think there is a typo “1 piece of thumb-sized vinegar” should be ginger. Thanks for the recipe!
ha! Good catch, thanks Hannah. It’s fixed!
Nikki Kamminga says
Looks amazing, I love tofu!
Ellen Rosenberg says
Place the tofu in the hot cast iron pan without any oil? It won’t stick?
There is toasted sesame oil already in the marinade.
Jordan Sebastian says
Thanks for sharing Erin. I love ginger tofu so much but haven’t tried it with air-fried bok choy. Will test it out this weekend.