This Ginger Sesame Tofu Stir Fry is coated in a deliciously sticky sauce – plus, I'll show you the secret to getting that perfect crispy tofu!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Canola oil – other oils that would be great for stir-frying the tofu are vegetable oil, safflower oil or grapeseed oil.
- Extra-firm tofu – to keep this dish plant-based, replace the tofu with tempeh. Otherwise, chicken or beef can also be used in this recipe.
- Cornstarch – potato starch, regular flour or gluten-free flour can also be used to coat the tofu.
- Yellow onion – red onion, shallots and white onions are all great substitutes here.
- Zucchini – if you’re not a fan of zucchini, feel free to leave it out entirely or replace it with any veggie of your choice!
- Red pepper – any bell pepper colour can be used in this recipe.
- Green onions – scallions are also a great garnish.
- Sesame seeds – black or white sesame seeds would both work.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
Stir fry sauce
- Soy sauce – tamari or coconut aminos are great alternatives to soy sauce.
- Hoisin sauce – teriyaki sauce, bean paste or kecap manis (sweet soy sauce) can be used in place of hoisin sauce.
- Sesame oil – avocado oil, perilla oil or olive oil are great alternatives but won’t provide the same flavour that sesame oil does.
- Garlic – fresh or jarred minced garlic is best but garlic powder can be used in a pinch.
- Ginger – fresh grated ginger provides the best flavour but ground ginger can be used instead.
- White rice – use a white rice of your choice like basmati or jasmine rice. You can also use brown rice but this will slightly alter the cooking instructions.
- Butter – the butter helps make the rice extra-fluffy. Feel free to use margarine instead or leave this out.
- Salt – to taste.
How to make this recipe
- Prep your ingredients.
- Drain then coat the cubed tofu.
- Brown the tofu.
- Stir fry the veggies.
- Add in the tofu and stir fry sauce.
- Serve over rice and dig in!
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Getting the crispiest tofu
Tofu often gets a bad reputation but it's a great protein-packed ingredient for plant-based recipes. Tofu is stored in packaging that has water in it to help keep its shape and texture. This is because tofu contains water, so the lack of water in its packaging could accelerate the drying out of the ingredient.
That being said, when you're looking to make crispy tofu it is very important to drain the tofu of its water. The best way to do this is to keep the tofu in between two kitchen towels with a heavy object (like a textbook) on top. After you've made sure all the liquid is squeezed out of the tofu, coat the pieces in cornstarch. This is the best way to create a coating around the tofu for the crispy texture.
If you don't have cornstarch on hand, you can also use regular flour or potato starch to create a similar coating.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you're wondering which tofu to use for this recipe, extra-firm tofu is the best option. Once you've drained it of its water and coated it in the cornstarch, the extra firm tofu will keep its shape and won't crumble while you are frying it!
If you find that your tofu is still too soft for your liking, it likely has too much moisture left. You want to squeeze as much liquid as possible before frying your tofu so it gets nice and crisp. I recommend adding the block of tofu to a large plate between two kitchen towels and then adding a heavy object over top like a large textbook – it’s the best method I’ve found for removing liquid from the tofu.
Coating the tofu in cornstarch is critical to making sure it maintains its shape. If you don’t have any cornstarch, you can also try using potato starch, regular flour and gluten-free flour – but don’t forgo this step as your tofu will get all crumbly when you try to fry it.
Storing and reheating
Like most stir-fries, this dish is great for meal prep! Store your leftovers in airtight glass containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can store it all in one large container or in individual serving sizes with the rice, which is great for meal prep.
When you're ready to enjoy the dish, reheat it in a skillet for the best results and to ensure that the crispy tofu remains crispy. Otherwise, if you're in a rush, warming the leftovers in the microwave for 1-2 minutes will also work. Make sure to sprinkle some water over top of the rice before microwaving to make sure it doesn't dry out.
Freezing this recipe
Unfortunately, this dish is not freezer-friendly. Freezing this dish isn't recommended because the veggies get super soggy during the reheating process and the tofu just won’t be the same.
More stir fry recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this stir fry into leftovers.
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months.
- Order some coconut aminos if you're looking for an alternative to soy sauce.
Ginger Sesame Tofu Stir Fry
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 package extra-firm tofu
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 4 green onions, sliced
- Sesame seeds, for garnish
Stir fry sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp ginger, minced
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 pinch salt
- Add block of tofu to a large plate in between two clean kitchen towels. Add a heavy object such as a large textbook over tofu to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Meanwhile, mix all ingredients under stir fry sauce heading together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Add all ingredients under rice heading to a rice cooker or pot on the stove and cook until cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Take tofu and cut into 1-inch cubes. Carefully toss with cornstarch in a large bowl, and start heating the canola oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Add tofu pieces in a large layer, seasoning with salt & pepper. Cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes, then remove from heat and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
- Add a touch more canola oil to the skillet, then stir fry onion, zucchini and red pepper over high heat until veggies are tender, seasoning with salt & pepper. Add tofu back to skillet, then add in sauce and low heat to medium, cooking another 2 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Remove from heat, then serve over rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy!