Great as an appetizer or served over rice or noodles, this tofu recipe combines the classic pairing of garlic and butter with traditional Japanese flavors. These crispy tofu steaks keep well in the fridge and can be prepared ahead of time as part of a meal prepped dish!
Start by cutting the tofu into strips and wrapping them in a paper towel or kitchen cloth to remove excess moisture. To squeeze as much liquid out as possible, try placing something heavy on top of the wrapped tofu such as a pan or aluminum can of food. This step, called “pressing,” helps ensure that the tofu is dry enough to crisp up and fry, rather than remaining wet and steaming in its own liquid.
Next, sprinkle the tofu with flour. The flour creates a thin coating that will brown and form a crunchy layer. If you don’t have extra-fine flour, potato starch or cornstarch can be used in place.
To cook, fry the tofu strips in salted butter until golden brown, then turn off the heat and add in the seasonings. In this recipe, we use double concentrated mentsuyu as the base for our sauce.Mentsuyu is a multi-purpose Japanese condiment rich in umami flavor that is typically made from dashi, mirin, and soy sauce.We also use sweet sake, which contrasts the savory mentsuyu and lightens the dish. Finally, the addition of crushed garlic brings fragrance and warmth.
A satisfying vegetarian source of protein, these tofu steaks make an excellent centerpiece to any meal!
Cooking time: 20 mins
- 400g tofu (firm works best)
- 10g flour (extra fine)
- 20g salted butter
- Coriander (garnish)
- 3 tbsp mentsuyu (double concentrated)
- 2 tbsp sweet sake
- 1 garlic clove (crushed)
- Cut the tofu vertically into 6 equal strips. Wrap in paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
- Unwrap tofu and sprinkle with flour.
- Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat.
- Add tofu and cook on all sides until crispy and brown. Turn off the heat. Mix in the seasoning to fully cover each tofu stick (careful to not break the tofu sticks).
- Plate and garnish with coriander if desired.
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.