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Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Spicy Dipping Sauce

by , featured in The Woks Of Life
Published by Clarkson Potter
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This recipe is for anyone who still isn't convinced of the wonders of tofu. With a crispy, pan-fried sesame-seed coating, anyone who insists tofu is bland and boring will think again. As with anything golden brown and crispy, you'll want something fresh or acidic to go with it. The herby, spicy, garlicky dipping sauce here fits the bill perfectly. Hot oil is poured over the minced garlic, chili flakes, and herbs to release and mellow their flavors before the other sauce ingredients are mixed in. This technique is common when making Chinese dipping sauces and dressings. Serve this tofu alongside some stir-fried greens and rice, and dinner is set.

Image of The Leungs' Sesame Crusted Tofu by
Photo by Sarah Leung and Kaitlin Leung


Serves: 4

  • 1 (14 to 16 ounce) package firm tofu (drained)
  • ⅓ cup untoasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chinese five spice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper powder
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan chile flakes
  • ¼ cup neutral oil
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon rice vinegar


Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Spicy Dipping Sauce is a guest recipe by Bill, Judy, Sarah and Kaitlin Leung so we are not able to answer questions regarding this recipe

  1. Cut the block of tofu in half lengthwise, and then cut it into ½-inch-thick slices.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine the sesame seeds, cornstarch, salt, five-spice powder, and white pepper. Carefully coat the tofu slices in this mixture on both sides, taking care to press the mixture into the tofu slices evenly and thoroughly.
  3. In the following order, add the cilantro, scallions, garlic, and chili flakes to a small heatproof bowl. (You will pour hot oil over it, and you will want the oil to mostly hit the garlic and chili flakes on top.)
  4. Heat a large nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of the neutral oil and spread it around the pan. When the oil is shimmering, add the tofu slices. Fry for 4 to 5 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy. Transfer the tofu to a serving platter.
  5. In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon oil and heat until shimmering. Then, pour the hot oil over the garlic–chili flake mixture, using a rubber spatula to scrape every last drop! Stir in the light soy sauce, water, sugar, and rice vinegar to make a dipping sauce, and serve it with the crispy tofu.

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What 2 Others have said

  • Everyone loved it, the dressing is amazing! Although I'd like to try the recipe with Halloumi next time!

    Posted by Heney on 16th March 2023
  • This recipe was addictively delicious, and it finally convinced my wife that tofu can be amazing when done right!

    Posted by Daddydaycare on 29th January 2023
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Bara Brith