With tangy ginger and toasted sesame oil, this silken tofu recipe with spicy soy sauce is an easy show-stopping vegetarian meal! The sauce comes together quickly and the tofu doesn’t require cooking so it’s ready to eat in less than 5 minutes.
Silken tofu is commonly used in desserts or smoothies because of its creamy texture, while firm tofu is best for mimicking animal proteins thanks to its chewy texture. Despite the more Western ways of using silken tofu, one of the common ways it’s eaten in Korea is as a side dish topped with a spicy sauce.
This traditional Korean recipe is what inspired my silken tofu recipe. It has the most delicious spicy garlic and ginger-filled sauce, is ready in 5 minutes, and only takes 8 simple ingredients. And because it’ll take you more time to read this post than it will to make the recipe, let’s get going!
Why you’ll love it
- Insanely fast, I mean like so fast. The sauce only has to cook for 5 minutes and the tofu does not need to be dried.
- Can be an appetizer or a side dish enjoyed before a meal or alongside other Asian-inspired recipes.
- Easy preparation and clean-up make this vegan and vegetarian dish perfect for when you’re too tired to make anything difficult.
Ingredients for Silken Tofu with Spicy Sauce
This silken tofu recipe only requires 8 ingredients that are specifically chosen to have the most flavor impact!
- Soy sauce: Regular soy sauce is ideal for this recipe since we are not seasoning the sauce with any additional salt.
- Ginger: Freshly grated ginger is a must for this recipe! It can be grated with a microplane or cheese grated in a pinch.
- Chili garlic sauce: This sauce is available at most stores now and Trader Joe’s sells its version with onion. It is usually found in the international aisle of the market or by the dressings.
- Toasted sesame oil: Sesame oil can be bought not toasted but it lacks the flavor needed for this sauce. So be sure to use the toasted sesame oil!
- Rice vinegar: This vinegar is lighter and milder than other vinegars making it ideal for bringing a slight acidity to the sauce.
- Silken tofu: Silken tofu can be found with all other tofu in the refrigerated section of the store and should be labeled as such. Shelf-stable silken tofu can be used but you may need 2 blocks because they are typically smaller.
- Cucumbers: I like to pair the silken tofu with cucumbers for added crunch. Any type of cucumber will work: English, mini, snacking, or standard
- Green onions: These add additional crunch and bright notes, and help to enhance the garlicky flavor of the sauce.
Making this soy-free
Soy sauce is a pretty prominent ingredient, but coconut aminos can be used in place of soy sauce to make it soy-free and gluten-free. The catch though, is that coconut aminos are much less salty, so you will need to taste and add salt accordingly.
How to make Spicy Garlic Silken Tofu
Grab a small sauce pan and a plate and we can start making this recipe!
- Make the sauce by adding the sauce ingredients to a pot and heat until warm.
- Prep the tofu, cucumbers, and green onions while the sauce cooks.
- Assemble by plating the sauce on the tofu and top with vegetables.
Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can eat leftovers cold and do not need to reheat them.
Recipe Testing Notes
- Firm tofu does not work because the dish is supposed to be eaten similarly to a savory flan. You should be able to cut into it with a spoon or crackers!
- Using coconut aminos will work, but I had to add ample amounts of salt to make up for the fact that it isn’t nearly as salty as soy sauce.
How do I remove tofu from the container?
The best way I’ve found to get the tofu out of the box is to puncture a hole in the plastic wrap top. Drain the liquid from it this way and then flip the tofu out onto a plate so it ends up upside down.
Should this be eaten cold or warm?
This silken tofu is meant to be eaten cold with a warm sauce, but you can have it warm if you prefer. To do this, carefully add the block of tofu to boiling water for 30 seconds to a minute to heat through.
Do I need to cook the sauce?
Yes, cooking the sauce helps to emulsify and fully combine the ingredients. It also helps to thicken it slightly.
What to Serve This With
This silken tofu recipe is perfect eaten alongside rice or spring rolls for a fresh and easy dinner! Or pair it with:
- Thai Cucumber Salad for a crunchy pairing that we can’t get enough of.
- 15-Minute Kimchi Fried Rice is another easy dish that uses a lot of the same ingredients as this tofu recipe.
- Loaded Kimchi Fries paired with this spicy garlic silken tofu would make a great small bites spread!
“You are a masterful flavor maker. Love this, ate 1/2 of it myself with crackers.” —Tam
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce 30 mL
- 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce 15 mL
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil 15 mL
- 1 tsp rice vinegar 5 mL
- 1 16-oz block silken tofu 453 g
- ¼ cup finely chopped cucumber
- ¼ cup chopped green onions
- Sauce: In a small saucepan combine 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger, 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce, 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil, and 1 tsp rice vinegar. Heat over medium until warm and combined, about 5 mintues.
- Prep: Meanwhile, open and drain tofu container, then flip it onto a serving plate. Chop the cucumber and onion.
- Assemble: Spoon cucumber and onion over the tofu, then drizzle with warm soy sauce mixture. Serve immediately.