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Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Soy Sesame Sauce Recipe

by Jeanette on May 29, 2013 · 24 Comments
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This Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Soy Sesame Sauce is perfect for a meatless meal or as an inexpensive protein to serve alongside other dishes at dinnertime. Warm Tofu with Spicy Soy Sesame Sauce © Jeanette's Healthy Living I have piles of recipes that I’ve collected over the years. Occasionally, I pull out a folder here and there and peruse through some of them. Each time, I toss a few and pull some aside to try out. Today’s Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Sauce recipe is one that was tucked way back in my file cabinet.

Although the dressing is similar to one that I’ve made over the years for cold Asian side dishes (banchan), the preparation of the tofu is interesting. A block of soft tofu is simmered over low heat, which gently heats the tofu and ensures it doesn’t fall apart. It makes a pretty presentation.

Warm Tofu with Spicy Soy Sesame Sauce © Jeanette's Healthy Living

I enjoyed the leftovers cold and they were really good. This easy tofu dish would be nice served with a variety of banchan (little cold salads that are often served with Korean meals) and a bowl of steamed rice.

Here are some banchan style recipes if you’re curious:

Kim Chi Cucumber Salad © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Spicy Cucumber Salad

Spinach Salad Banchan

Bean sprout salad © Jeanette's Healthy Living
Bean Sprout Salad Banchan

Napa Cabbage Kimchi © Jeanette's Healthy Living
Quick Napa Cabbage Kimchi

Radish Kimchi © Jeanette's Healthy Living
Red Radish Kimchi
Kohlrabi KimChi © Jeanette's Healthy Living
Kohlrabi Kim Chi

Kale Kimchi in a Jar © Jeanette's Healthy Living

Kale Kim Chi

5 from 1 reviews
Warm Tofu with Spicy Garlic Soy Sesame Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Leftovers are good cold.
  • 1 block soft tofu (~ 16 ounce box)
  • 1 large clove garlic, mashed with a pinch of salt
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes (you can substitute ⅛ teaspoon regular red pepper flakes)
  • ½ teaspoon organic sugar
  1. Gently place tofu in a saucepan; cover with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine mashed garlic, scallion, sesame seeds, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and sugar together in a small bowl.
  3. Before serving, carefully lift tofu from pan and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to serving dish and spoon sauce on top.
Adapted from Lillian Chou on Epicurious.
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  1. I’ve never cooked a whole block of tofu this way. It looks lovely, and of course the spicy sauce appeals to me most of all!

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Lydia, it was my first time cooking tofu as one piece but I loved the presentation…and I agree, spicy sauce is the best!

      • I’m trying to locate the warm tofu with spicy garlic sauce recipe and not able to find it? i did sign up for your news letter too???

  2. I am a BIG tofu lover and I definitely would love to make a meal of it served with some of these banchan!

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Joanne, banchan are so fun – I love going to Korean restaurants where there’s a spread of these little plates.

  3. LOVE the sound of this! And we’re channeling each other because I’m doing a spicy tofu recipe today when I cook with my nephew!

  4. What a great looking hunk of tofu, it sounds delicious! Love the simple but vibrant flavors you added!

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Thanks Georgia – this is very refreshing. The spicy sauce is a nice contrast to the smooth and silky tofu.

  5. Love the ingredients in the sauce for warm tofu! Yum!

  6. om my everything look so good. My son would just LOVE the tofu, he is crazy for tofu, I’ll be putting in on the list to make and I’m sure we will all enjoy it!

  7. Hi Jeanette,
    Just wondering how many servings you recommend that this recipe makes? :)

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Laura – depending on if you serve this as a main course or as a side dish, I would say it serves 2 as a main course and 4 as a side dish.

  8. Gabriella says:

    I happened to come across this blog one day, when I had a block of silken tofu on hand and didn’t know what to do with it. I searched online for recipes, and came across this list on greatist.com called “53 HEALTHY AND FLAVORFUL RECIPES TO MAKE WITH TOFU”. The list was made by a woman named Laura Newcomer, and all of the ideas on the list were absolutely amazing! I looked through them, and eventually found your recipe. I checked it out, and that’s how I found your blog. Thank you so very much for this delicious recipe (that I finally had a chance to try today), and also thanks to Laura Newcomer for allowing people such as myself to find this blog! :)

  9. I was in the mood for more texture so I fried the tofu in cubes first, and then served with the sauce. Very tasty! Love the simple recipe and the fact that I usually have all these ingredients on hand.

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      Olivia, your method for creating more texture in this dish sounds great – thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Jeanette, I love tofu, and more importantly, I love this recipe! I’ve just made a batch of japchae for my lunch next week (my co-workers are always so jealous, but they always seem to draw the line at my kimchi (so what, I still bring it). What I’m curious about with this recipe is, can I microwave the tofu to eat warm for my lunch at work? I’ve never microwaved tofu before, and I would hate to ruin the beautiful texture. (I could literally eat this tofu with rice every single night, I love this recipe!). Thank you.

    • Angie, I have never tried micowaving tofu, so I couldn’t tell you if this would work. I’d be afraid it might “explode” unless you reheated it at a lower setting. It would probably be good cold or room temperature.

      • Jeanette, thanks so much for the reply. I went ahead, and marinated the tofu w/o cooking it, and had it cold w/the japchae… I was afraid to microwave it too, so i didn’t. It was delicious!

  11. I just finished this dish. IT is delicious. Thank you for sharing.

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