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Char Siu Tofu

Char siu tofu is an absolutely brilliant way to prepare a vegan entrée that will even knock the socks off of the tofu-averse. The sweet and savory sauce is made with ginger, five-spice powder, garlic, hoisin, and Shaoxing wine. Bathing the tofu in it plays up the crispy and creamy textures.

A white platter filled with slices of tofu covered in a dark sauce, sesame seeds, and chives, beside a plate of dumplings, a spoon filled with sesame seeds, and a pair of chopsticks.

Adapted from Jeeca Uy | Vegan Asian | Page Street Publishing, 2021

These are slices of tofu cooked down in a rich, sweet, and savory sauce. This dish is delicious as is, but is best enjoyed with a bowl of steamed rice or with freshly cooked noodles. The slices are also delicious when placed in steamed buns to make Char Siu Tofu Gua Baos. The sauce is deliciously savory with a perfect balance of sweetness and a hint of spice.–Jeeca Uy

Char Siu Tofu

A white platter filled with slices of tofu covered in a dark sauce, sesame seeds, and chives, beside a plate of dumplings, a spoon filled with sesame seeds, and a pair of chopsticks.

This makes a delicious meal packed with all the tasty flavors. This is packed with very bold flavors with a nice kick of heat. I enjoy the tofu with lots of rice to scoop up all that sauce.

Jeeca Uy

Prep 10 mins

Cook 20 mins

Total 40 mins



2 servings

450 kcal

No ratings yet

For the tofu

For the char siu sauce

Prepare the tofu

  • Using a tofu press or weighted plate, press tofu for at least 10 minutes to drain any excess liquid.
  • Turn tofu block on its side, slice through block to make 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick slabs. You will have 2 to 3 slabs depending on the size and thickness of your tofu.

Make the char siu sauce

  • In a small bowl, mix together all the sauce ingredients.
  • Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Once hot, add tofu slabs in a single layer. Pan-fry tofu until lightly browned on each side, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Remove tofu from skillet and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing each slab into 1-inch (2.5-cm)-thick strips.

  • In the same skillet over medium heat, add the sauce and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring sauce to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to medium. Stir to prevent sugar from sticking and burning. Taste sauce and add more sugar, if desired.

  • Add sliced tofu to skillet, scoop sauce over tofu pieces. Continue to cook and baste tofu until it has absorbed some of the sauce, 6 to 7 minutes.

  • Increase heat to high and cook until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Garnish tofu with sesame seeds and scallions, if desired. Enjoy the Char Siu Tofu as is, with blanched veggies, with rice, or as filling for buns to make gua baos.

*What is hoisin sauce?

For this char siu tofu recipe, you should have everything you need, with the exception of one key ingredient: hoisin. Hoisin is a thick, dark sauce that’s packed with a range of flavors like ginger, cinnamon, garlic, soy, and sesame. Fragrant and pungent, it’s often thought of as the Chinese version of barbecue sauce. And it’s incredibly delicious. 
Most brands of hoisin are vegan, but read the ingredients if you’re sticking to a vegan diet.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 450kcal (23%)Carbohydrates: 17g (6%)Protein: 22g (44%)Fat: 32g (49%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 12gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 641mg (28%)Potassium: 68mg (2%)Fiber: 3g (13%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 11IUVitamin C: 4mg (5%)Calcium: 302mg (30%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Originally published on August 31, 2021


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