Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Edamame

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Learn to make delicious Pan Fried Tofu in a sweet Asian marinade with edamame. This tasty vegetarian meal comes together in less than 20 minutes and is packed with protein.

352 CAL 21g CARBS 20g FAT 28g PROTEIN
1 Comment

This Pan Fried Tofu with Edamame recipe will have you enjoying tofu in a new way. The homemade stir-fry sauce gives so much flavor to this easy skillet tofu. This is going to become a regular on your weekly menu.

Tofu might not be a super popular type of food, and I get it. I really do. Some people don't like the texture, and others don't love the smell. But, I think that if you prepare it correctly, tofu can be a really healthy source of protein that actually tastes pretty delicious too!

I personally like tofu when it is crispy on the outside and filled with spicy and aromatic flavors. Pan-frying the tofu is the way to do just that! The outside gets super crispy and the tofu soaks up all the flavor of the pan sauce. When you pair it with something crunchy, like edamame, you have an unbeatable combination!

If you haven't cooked with tofu often, make sure to check out all the tips on cooking tofu in this post. We'll show you how to press it to remove any excess liquid, infuse it with flavor, and then fry it in a skillet until the outside is super crispy and caramelized. 

Skillet fried tofu with edamame in Asian marinade with sesame seeds bring sprinkled on top.

Key Ingredients and Easy Swaps

This recipe uses pretty basic ingredients - but the combination is incredible! Here is what you will need from the store before you begin.

  • Tofu: Use extra-firm tofu and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Firm tofu will work as well but the end result won’t be quite as crispy. You could also use tempeh or a vegetarian meat substitute.
  • Onion: Red onion is slightly sweeter and has a bolder flavor, but you can also substitute it with white or yellow onion. If you don't love onions, you could leave them out or finish the dish with fresh green onion or chives for a more mild onion flavor.
  • Oil: Use both vegetable and sesame oil. You can substitute either avocado or olive oil for vegetable oil. Just make sure it has a high burning point since we will be cooking at high temperatures. 
  • Garlic: Always use fresh garlic cloves when you make this recipe. The garlic powder won't have the same flavor or aroma.
  • Spices: I simply used salt and pepper. If you want it to have a little more heat, you can add a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes.
  • Soy Sauce: To keep the salt amount low, use low-sodium soy sauce. If you are gluten-free, substitute with coconut aminos!
  • Brown Sugar: You only need a little bit to sweeten this sauce. If you are on a low-carb diet, substitute with Stevia. Honey or maple syrup also works.
  • White Vinegar: If you don't have white vinegar, you can use rice vinegar instead.

Note: For a full list of ingredients and detailed instructions on how to make this recipe, take a look at the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!

What To Serve with Tofu

Since this is an Asian-inspired meal, you can serve it with your favorite Asian side dishes or go with something simple like steamed rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa.

I love these fresh spring rolls - they are packed with veggies and have an amazing dipping sauce. These baked egg rolls make a great crispy option or could be an appetizer.

If you love lo mein, then make spinach and mushroom lo mein. That will round out this meal, making it incredibly filling and healthy at the same time.

One last option is some extra veggies. Consider making this delicious Stir Fried Bok Choy or Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli.

Extra firm pan-fried tofu in a sweet and spicy Asian sauce with edamame and sesame seeds.

How to Pan Fry Tofu

Follow these tips to make sure that the tofu turns out crispy and tangy every single time!

  • Always press the tofu before stir-frying it to remove the extra water from inside of it. This way, the tofu will keep its shape as it fries. If you don't remove all the water, the tofu might fall apart as you try to cook it in the skillet. If you don't have a tofu press, then cut the tofu into horizontal planks and wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Place something heavy on top and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. 
  • Whenever possible, choose extra firm tofu since it has the least amount of water. 
  • Watch the tofu closely while frying. It only takes about 3 minutes for it to sear. Then, flip it over as soon as it becomes crispy.
  • Make sure to use a hot pan when frying tofu or it won't get that crispy exterior, it will just brown.
  • Always use a nonstick skillet with tofu since it can stick very easily. 
  • For an extra crispy exterior, toss the tofu in cornstarch before frying it. 
  • Whisk the ingredients for the sauce really well before you add them to the skillet. Make sure the brown sugar is incorporated evenly in the sauce.

Tofu that

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers...

Tofu is safe to consume right from the package, so it is done as soon as the outside gets nicely browned and crisp. Make sure the tofu is heated through. Most tofu only takes 2-3 minutes per side.

If you are vegetarian and don't like tofu, you can just replace it with all of your favorite vegetables. For added protein, fry up some quinoa with it.

If you aren't vegetarian, then you can replace the tofu with your favorite type of meat. This sesame snap peas recipe will taste delicious with shrimp or chicken.

The easiest way to press tofu is with a tofu press. Rinse the tofu off and dry it before you press it. After you press it, dry it again with a paper towel.

If you do not have a tofu press, you can use two plates. Wrap the tofu in a cheesecloth or kitchen towel and set it in between two plates. Place something heavy on top of the plates (like a book) and let it sit like this for about 30 minutes.

This will slowly squeeze out any excess moisture from the tofu.

As it is written, it is not keto-friendly as I sweetened it with brown sugar. If you want it to be low-carb, replace the brown sugar with Stevia. If you do this, then it really is a fantastic low-carb stir fry!

Crispy sesame tofu with edamame on plate with sesame seeds on top.
The Recipe
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Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Edamame

352 CAL 21g CARBS 20g FAT 28g PROTEIN
1 Comment
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  • 20 oz extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (Stevia for low carb)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 cup edamame in pods (or shelled)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

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Rinse the tofu and press dry using a towel or paper towels. Cut into 1-inch thick slabs. Season with salt and pepper. You can also cut into small cubes if you prefer. This will give it even more crispy edges.

Tofu being pressed and sliced into slabs.

In a small bowl, whisk the vegetable stock, brown sugar, garlic, soy sauce, and white vinegar together. Set aside.

Asian sauce with garlic, vegetable broth, brown sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar.

Add the onion, sesame oil, and vegetable oil to a skillet. Add the tofu in one single layer and cook until crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Flip over and cook until the otherwise is crispy as well.

Tofu being pan fried with onions in a skillet.

Add the edamame and brown sugar soy mixture. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes until sauce thickens. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Asian sauce being poured in a pan with tofu and edamame.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 5 oz tofu and 3/4 cup vegetables
Amount Per Serving
Calories 352
Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 20g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 566mg
Total Carbohydrate 21g
Dietary Fiber 7g
Sugars 8g
Protein 28g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Pan Fried Sesame Tofu with Edamame
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April 11, 2023 - 13:23
Add a Rating:
Soooo good. I added a little sambal to the sauce--- yes!
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