You will love this pan fried tofu with teriyaki sauce. It’s a light and versatile dish that is a delicious way to enjoy some tofu for a meatless meal. It’s a perfect dish to make when you need an easy side dish or appetizer or a little something to serve with leftovers.
This recipe has been updated with a new photo (2016) and it’s most recently updated in October 2023.
Disclaimer: Please check that all ingredients are suitable for your allergies and be sure to ask your medical care team regarding any allergy related questions (I do not share medical advice). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.Jump to Recipe
I Modified MIL’s Tofu Recipe
When hubby and I first got married, I noticed that he really enjoyed his Shanghainese mom’s pan-fried tofu and I asked her how to make it. She told me to fry the tofu pieces in about 1/4 inch of oil, drain the oil, blanch the tofu and then braise the fried tofu with chicken broth and seasonings.
I just don’t deep fry (or even shallow fry in 1/4 inch of oil) and set out to find a lower fat way to make something similar with fewer steps using a Japanese sauce to make this Asian-inspired tofu dish. My younger son also loves tofu so I came up with this easy recipe, which my son can make.
Key Strategies to Pan Fried Tofu Yumminess:
- The tofu is much easier to fry after it’s been drained or blotted. The easy way is to cut two slits along the long side of the box and lean the box against the side of a medium bowl and return to the refrigerator while it drains for an hour or two. If you decide last minute to make this dish, then you’ll get the best results by cutting the tofu block into 8 pieces, pressing and blotting with paper towels.
- The frying pan needs to be hot. I warm it up on medium heat, set a timer for 5 minutes, and do other prep in the meantime. Use a non-stick frying pan (medium heat only) if you have a hard time making scrambled eggs without sticking in a stainless steel pan.
- Patience is required. When you start frying, don’t move or touch the tofu pieces in the frying pan until they’re golden brown and ready to flip. I like using two spatulas, one to get under the tofu and flip it over, the other spatula to keep it from landing on the other pieces.
One can season the pan fried tofu with salt and pepper or season with their favorite soy sauce alternative. Top with green onions, toasted sesame, or furikake if desired and serve as a side dish. Other possible uses include cutting up the pan fried tofu into bite size pieces to top salads, add to stews and curries, or anything you like. Our family enjoys pan fried tofu with a little Yoshida sauce and eat it as a side dish.
Reasons to Like Tofu
I have heard some people don’t like tofu because of the texture or the taste. And it’s true it can be soft but tofu is available in a variety of textures from silken to extra firm, so there might be a texture that is more appealing to you. Tofu can also be very bland, but one trick is to drain it or press it and then it’s ready to absorb all the flavors or sauces you add to it.
Tofu is a plant based protein which might help people want to eat less meat for various reasons. I like adding tofu to dishes such as peanut-free pad Thai or Minced Beef with Tofu and Peas to add a light and healthy protein to a dish.
It’s also high in calcium and other nutrients. And it’s also soft and easy to eat for people with dental issues such as teething babies, people with braces, dental injuries, etc..
Allergy Aware Pan Fried Tofu with Teriyaki Sauce
This recipe is free of peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, fish, and shellfish as written. Tofu is made from soy however I have shared before about Big Mountain, which makes soy-free tofu and I have two soy-free soy sauce recipes.
If allergic to wheat, you may use a gluten free teriyaki sauce or make your own using a gluten free tamari sauce. You can always check to see what’s in my cupboard for other recommendations.
One of the reasons I use Yoshida sauce is because at the time they don’t include sesame as an intended ingredient. It’s still unclear whether their product contains sesame or not. If sesame is a concern, I have a teriyaki sauce recipe that you can make to use for this tofu dish.
I recommend extra caution about eating tofu that are packaged in aseptic boxes (looks like a juice box) because those often have an allergen advisory or are made on shared equipment with nuts and/or other allergens. I usually buy fresh tofu that’s packed in water from a local brand or Trader’s Joe’s firm or extra firm tofu.
Pan Fried Tofu with Teriyaki Sauce
You will love this pan fried tofu with teriyaki sauce, it's a delicious way to enjoy some tofu for a meatless meal and one of my son's favorite dishes to make and eat.
- 1 box firm or extra firm tofu (19 ounce)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 – 3 tablespoons Yoshida Sauce or other favorite teriyaki sauce
About 1-2 hours before you want to start frying, rinse or wipe the outside of the tofu box of any dirt or contaminants. Cut two slits on parallel sides of the tofu box, drain the liquid, rinse with water and drain again. Lean the box against the side of a large bowl to allow the tofu to drain in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Preheat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, for 5 minutes until a drop of water sizzles on the hot pan.
Remove the plastic film from the tofu box. Cut the tofu into 8 pieces. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the frying pan, swirl the pan to coat, and allow it to heat up for 30 seconds.
Gently place the tofu pieces on the frying pan and allow adequate space between the pieces. Pan fry for 7-8 minutes or until the bottoms look golden brown.
Carefully flip each piece over and fry for an additional 7-8 minutes.
Brush some Yoshida sauce on the tofu pieces, flip them over, pan fry for a minute, brush on more sauce, and fry the second side for one more minute. Immediately transfer the pan-fried tofu to a serving dish otherwise the sauce will burn.
A reader recommends using a tofu press because it takes just a few minutes. I haven’t tried it before, but thought it might be interesting. Do you use one? And do you have a recommendation for a good tofu press?
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