Living a balanced life with lots of creative food, exercise and exploration!

Carmelized Tofu

on December 1, 2012

Due to a routine doctor visit, I let myself take a full afternoon off.  And it was lovely!  Time to leisurely go to the grocery store, pick out good ingredients for dinner, marinate and cook tofu, read for pleasure….man was it nice!  Plus, I got to feel slightly scandalous that I wasn’t at work :0

Anyhoo, so what did I cook?  A really fun Carmelized Tofu recipe.  The Boy really likes all things sweet, and has been known to add cinnamon to tofu, so I thought I’d try this one out.  I made substitutions based on what was on hand, but the basic recipe and method was great.  The tofu wound up being super delicious and a totally different spin.

*excuse the cell phone pictures!


  • 1/4 c rice wine or dry sherry – I used apple cider
  • 2 ts rice vinegar – I used regular vinegar
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1 t toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 t minced fresh ginger

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 lb extra-firm tofu, patted thoroughly dry and cut into 2 x 2x 1/3-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c thinly sliced white onion
  • 4 or more dried small red chilies (optional) – I used a chopped cerrano pepper
  • 5 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced – regular onion


  • Marinate and dry tofu (I always use my go to rub for tofu, adds a good base flavor – garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper; I usually don’t use salt because it just absorbs it, and I’ll usually add soy sauce or salt later); I let it sit for about a half hour before starting to cook.
  • Whisk the first 5 ingredients with sugar until sugar dissolves

  • Heat oil over high heat. Lay the tofu squares in the skillet in a single layer
  • Fry until golden brown on one side, about 4 minutes
  • Flip the tofu and immediately pour in the sauce; add the onions and pepper. The sauce will sputter and begin to caramelize.
  • Keep a close eye on it, and move the tofu around a little bit to let the sauce get under it. Continue cooking until the sauce has thickened and become a fairly thick glaze coating the tofu, about 4 minutes more

Yum!  I was really intrigued by how the soy sauce (super thin) thickened when added to the heat and other ingredients.

On the side I just roasted some veggies that were on sale – asparagus and carrot.

Aren’t they lovely?

I chopped the veggies into similar sized chunks, then tossed them lightly with olive oil and Italian seasonings.  Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes and they get all roasty toasty delicious!

Final Product:

Note on ingredient substitutions – Google is a beautiful thing.  Don’t have rice wine or sherry?  Google substitutions.  Google tells me that the point of the rice wine is to add some acid to the mix with some sweetness, and that apple juice can work as a substitute.  I had apple cider on hand and it worked fabulously 🙂


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