Teriyaki tofu with pickled cucumber and sesame


First published in 2019
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Tofu ordinarily contains a lot of water which means it tends to boil rather than frying in the pan, but pressing a lot of the water out at the beginning circumvents this problem, giving you that perfect crunch on the outside.

As usual, the ingredients can be switched up here depending what you have in your fridge and cupboards. Using the 4:4:4:4:4 ratio for the marinade gives a nice balanced result and is easy to remember, but you can change the quantities to suit your own palate, and if you're not keen on teriyaki, you could make a different marinade entirely!

If this fried tofu method really works for you, you might want to consider investing in a tofu press, as they're rather easier than balancing a heavy pan on top of a squidgy block of tofu! The traditional ones are made of wood, but you can also get plastic versions which are easy to clean and make this sort of recipe a doddle.





Pickled cucumber

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 100ml of rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of caster sugar
  • 100ml of water



Start by preparing your tofu – take the tofu block and sit it on a plate with some kitchen towel underneath. Put a few more sheets of kitchen towel on top and place a heavy weight on top of the tofu. Leave the tofu to compress for half an hour – it will lose a lot of water, so use extra kitchen towel as necessary to keep the tofu dry
Meanwhile, prepare your rice. Rinse your rice in cold water a few times until the water runs clear and you have washed off most of the excess starch. Drain thoroughly, then put into a pan with the cold water and salt. Bring to a boil, then stir the grains, lower to a gentle simmer and put a lid on. Leave the rice to absorb all the water (about 15–20 minutes) then turn off the hob and leave the rice to steam gently
To make your cucumber pickle, combine the rice wine vinegar, water and caster sugar in a small pan, and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar into the pickle liquor. Peel your cucumber into ribbons using a vegetable peeler and stack in the bottom of a heatproof bowl. Pour over the cucumber ribbons making sure they are fully submerged. Leave to pickle for 15 minutes
Combine the sake, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger and garlic in a pan, and warm to dissolve the sugar into the teriyaki marinade
Once your tofu is nice and firm, slice it into squares about 1.5cm thick (or another shape of your choice) and dry the tofu pieces thoroughly. Get a non-stick frying pan hot with a splash of oil in the bottom, then fry your tofu pieces on each side until they're golden brown. Carefully pour any excess oil out of the pan and add your teriyaki marinade to the tofu pieces. Let the mixture simmer away gently with a lid on until the teriyaki has thickened, then take off the heat
Fluff up the jasmine rice and spoon into a bowl. Top with the teriyaki tofu and pickled cucumber. Garnish with a handful of fresh coriander leaves, sesame seeds, spring onion tops and chopped chilli, with a drizzle of sesame oil and a squeeze of lime to finish!
First published in 2019
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