Sticky, sweet, and delicious! This Vegan Sticky Sesame Tofu is inspired by North American Chinese takeout we all know and love. Crispy tofu tossed in a sweet, yet savoury sauce and served with rice and cooked broccoli.
We often get asked if we have recipe suggestions for people who want to start incorporating more plant-based meals into their diet. The first thing we say is to veganize your favourites! Look for substitutes that you love of familiar foods and comfort meals. Whatever it may be, veganize your favourite meal and it will all come much easier. This allows you to stay in your comfort zone while making slow changes towards a plant based diet.
For us, one of those comfort meals is North American Chinese takeout. It reminds us of family dinners, late night hangs, and game nights. It’s a constant go-to for us, even as vegans today. One of our personal favourites is a Sticky Seasme Chicken – so we veganized it!
What is vegan chicken?
While you can use a faux vegan chicken in this recipe, we opted to use a crispy tofu instead. The tofu is soft, yet firm on the inside and crispy on the outside. Perfect for coating in the sticky sesame sauce!
Top tips for making Vegan Sticky Sesame Tofu:
- Keep tofu cubes small. For the best crisp to soft inside ratio, we like to cut our tofu cubes into 1cm sized cubes. However, if you prefer you can cut them into bigger sizes.
- Use a cast iron pan. To get the best crisp on your tofu, use a heavy-bottomed cast iron pan. Because the more you use your cast iron pans the more non-stick they become, that means what you cook in them generally won’t stick.
- Let the tofu get crispy before tossing. Let the tofu sit in the pan before tossing until it’s golden and crispy on each side. Consistent stirring with prevent the tofu from getting the crisp you want.
- A slightly thick, yet pourable consistency is best. Once the sauce is at your desired thickness, remove it from the heat to prevent it from getting any thicker.
- Serve with fresh veggies. The sauce is both sweet and savoury. Balance out the flavour with some freshly steamed veggies and rice.
Sticky Sesame Tofu Recipe FAQ:
What tofu is best to use?
We like to use an extra firm tofu for this recipe, but firm and medium firm tofu also works!
Does this recipe keep well as leftovers?
Yes! We always like to make extras to enjoy as leftover the next day for lunch. Just store in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or on the stove-top when ready to eat.
How to make Sticky Sesame Tofu:
Vegan Sticky Sesame Tofu
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- pinch chili flakes
- 1/3 cup water
- cornstarch slurry, 1 tbsp cornstarch +1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Dice your tofu into your desired cube size. We recommend smaller cubes that are about 1 cm wide.
- To best crisp your tofu you want to use a cast iron pan, if you don't have one you need to use another over safe pan. Rest your cast iron on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes to heat up. Add 1 tsp of sesame oil and heat for another minute. Add your tofu and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want a golden brown colour on all sides. If you see it starting to cook a little too quickly, turn down the heat to cook slower. Once all sides are golden and the 15 minutes is done. Transfer the entire cast iron pan into the preheat oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes. This will get you perfectly crispy tofu, every time.
- To make your sesame sauce you want to combine your soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic powder, chili flakes, and water. Mix until all combined.
- To make your cornstarch slurry combine your cornstarch and water and whisk until there are no lumps.
- Add your cornstarch slurry to your sauce mixture and mix until combined.
- Add your sauce to a wok on medium heat and stir until you get the thickness you want. You are looking for a thicker, sticky sauce that will hold onto your tofu. Once you get to your desired thickness add in your tofu and toss until it is all coated.
- Serve your tofu with whatever you prefer, but we paired ours with brown rice and steamed broccoli. Top with sesame seeds for some extra fanciness.