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Pan Fried Glazed Tofu

by on January 20, 2011 · 18 comments

I’m waiting for some brownies to cool, so if tofu is not your thing, check in later. Right now I want to pass on a recipe I tried last night. It’s a crispy, glazed, pan-fried tofu dish which you serve over rice.


Speaking of which, a few weeks ago I made one of my best appliance purchases of the year — a rice cooker. It’s changed my life. For years I considered buying one but shrugged it off thinking I knew how to make rice and didn’t need a cooker, but the truth was my rice was not always perfect and I found myself buying a lot of the pre-cooked rice packets. Not that there’s anything wrong with letting Uncle Ben do the cooking once in a while, but I wanted to make rice using rice straight out of the bulk bin.

Rice Cooker

Anyhow, the rice cooker has put the fun back into rice and I love picking new flavors and watching it come out perfect every time. Right now I’m working my way through a bag of popcorn rice, which is not as aromatic as basmati, but very good and rather versatile. Apparently it’s a Louisiana thing.

But back to the tofu. The original Crispy Tofu with Sweet & Tangy Glaze is from Recipezaar, but I made a few changes including toasting the sesame seeds and adding a little Mirin. Fuzz, who is really into tofu right now, thought it was pretty good. Todd doesn’t like the texture of tofu, but even he thought this was okay because I’d pressed so much water out of it to make it chewy. Apparently another trick you can do to make your tofu chewier is to freeze it and thaw it. I have a block in the freezer right now.

Pan Fried Glazed Tofu

1 (8 ounce) package extra firm tofu (some brands say “hard tofu)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 -2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon chili sauce (I use Thai sweet chilly sauce)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon of Mirin
1 teaspoon sesame seed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Drain tofu and slice it about ½ inch thick. Lay slices on paper towels. Put more paper towels on top and weigh down with a couple of heavy books. Drain as much water out of the tofu as you can.
Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, chili sauce, chili powder, garlic and Mirin (if you have it).

Toast the sesame seeds lightly in a dry non-stick skillet. This should only take a minute or two. Set them on a plate.
Add vegetable oil in the non-stick skillet and let it heat for about 30 seconds on medium. Saute the tofu slices for 2-3 minutes on each side until they get golden brown.

Remove tofu from skillet keeping skillet over medium. At this point, I drained a lot of the oil from the skillet and kept just a little in there to coat the pan. Carefully add the soy sauce mixture into the hot skillet and let it bubble and thicken – Mine spattered a lot, so be careful. Return the fried tofu slices back to the skillet and glaze it with the sauce.
Arrange the tofu over rice and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.

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Published on January 20, 2011

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

stephanie January 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

The hardest part about cooking tofu is prep. I have never tried the freeze & press method. I have tried the press-only method & the texture is just not there. I wish I could figure out how PF Changs does their tofu, because it rocks!!! If anyone know, please fill me in. Thanks for the recipe, will have to try. Let us know when you do the freeze & press one.

Mary January 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm

We learned to love tofu in Sichuan. Of course, it was so highly spiced we couldn’t taste anything else for days. This is a great recipe. Have a good day. Blessings…Mary

Anna January 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Stephanie, did you see this?

I’ve never tried P.F. Chang’s tofu, but now I want to!

It looks like they simmer it in salt water and then press it. Maybe the salt draws out more water?

Jennifer January 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

You crack me up:
“Anyhow, the rice cooker has put the fun back into rice”
Honestly, I’m not laughing at you, but at myself. I often find myself saying things like that, about food or appliances/implements and it’s maybe a bit unreasonable how excited I get about such little things.

Anna January 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I really didn’t think a rice cooker would do much, but it’s been great. I just throw the rice and water in the pot and can continue with the rest of the meal. The best thing is the warmer. When the rice is done it can just sit there in the cooker until everything else is ready. I love not having to time the rice to be ready with the rest of the meal.

Also, the rice cooker steams chicken in about 12 minutes.

HeartofGlass January 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

That looks AMAZING! And it’s totally cool that your daughter loves tofu–and is encouraging your husband to like it, too ;)

Barbara January 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm

This is so funny. The only tofu I’ve ever liked was pan fried in a restaurant on an island in the Caribbean. Told someone about it just the other day. And here you’ve come up with a recipe! I love it. Copying now.

Yet another Anna January 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I use my rice cooker for oatmeal too. Beats cooking it on the stove. :)

stephanie January 20, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Anna, thanks for the link. I’m gonna have to try it now. I actually love their Kung Poa (Sp?)with tofu. It takes on such a meaty texture, its just amazing. I also like their lettuce wraps with the tofu. So yummy & you never know its tofu!

Lisa Ernst January 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I haven’t made pan fried tofu in many years, but this recipe looks good enough to try it again. I use tofu (the silken kind) all the time as an egg sub for pies, etc. Works great! Your comments about the rice cooker also makes me want to get one. I wonder if it will cook quinoa too?

Emily January 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Yesss! I love tofu! I make it every single week to get some protein, since I don’t eat very much meat. I just made some sweet & sour tofu the other night and I was going to blog about it eventually.

I grill mine on my griddler and it makes it nice and chewy. You don’t even have to press the water out.

Dee January 20, 2011 at 10:59 pm

I love tofu! This recipe looks great. I don’ know about PF Changs, but some restaurants deep fry their tofu! Tasty for sure but kind of negates it’s healthy quality!!

TxPepper January 21, 2011 at 1:59 am


If you’re into trying different rices, may I rec my favorite brand of jasmine rice: ITC from Thailand.

You can probably find it in your local asian market. ITC is now packaging it in smaller amounts. Used to, I could only find five-pound or larger bags which was way too much for my needs.

It is so delicious and has such a nice chewy texture, that I can eat it by itself. If the rice is newly harvested, I use about a 1/1 ratio rice to water. Wash the rice well before cooking to remove the starch. Add a dash of salt to the cooking water.

Love your blog!

Mackenzie @ The Caramel Cookie January 21, 2011 at 8:18 am

Mmmm sounds delicious! I love tofu!

michelle January 21, 2011 at 9:24 am

I like tofu and so far this is my favorite way to make it: cut the block into thick slices, drain onto paper towels then cut into small cubes. Depending on the brand of tofu, it doesn’t always cut well because it can be so delicate. Dredge the cubes in cornstarch then saute in a non stick pan, trying not to move them too much until each side is golden brown. Really good over a stir fry.

melissa January 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I love tofu this way and don’t make it enough. I haven’t tried the freezer method yet. You probably didn’t, but if you make it again, don’t use the Silken type of tofu – it falls apart so fast!

Jamie goes in and out of liking tofu.

Happy about your rice cooker! Yay! I can’t imagine living without mine. It’s something I grew up with. In fact it was my job to make rice for dinner when I was a kid. Usually I only make Japanese white (or brown) rice in it. Haven’t tried basmati before… usually because when I make that, I saute onions first… There are a lot of great Japanese rice recipes out there — mixing it with chestnuts or adzuki beans… fun stuff.

Also if you can get your hands on black rice, it’s really good! It’s chewier and has more protein and fiber.

Laura January 25, 2011 at 7:07 pm

This looks good. I generally hate frying tofu–I prefer baking it, but fried tofu tastes a bit better.

Ashley March 21, 2011 at 9:15 am

Ooo I’m always looking for new ways to do tofu so will definitely have to try this!

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