Sweet Spicy Tofu Recipe: Easy Marinating, Cooking, and Pairing Tips for a Flavorful Dish

Photo of author
Written By Haryana’s Restaurant

Authentic Indian Food – Classic Indian Cuisine in Terrace BC

Craving a dish that perfectly balances sweetness and spice? Sweet spicy tofu is your answer. This versatile recipe brings together the rich, umami flavors of tofu with a tantalizing sweet and spicy sauce, creating a mouthwatering experience that’s both satisfying and healthy.


Tofu and Marinade

  • 1 block (14 oz) firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

Sweet Spicy Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha or another hot sauce of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 teaspoons water

Additional Ingredients

  • Sliced green onions
  • Sesame seeds
  • Fresh cilantro leaves

Equipment Needed

To prepare sweet spicy tofu, gather the following equipment for an efficient and seamless cooking experience:

  1. Cutting Board: Use a sturdy cutting board to chop your garlic, ginger, and green onions.
  2. Chef’s Knife: A sharp chef’s knife will make dicing your ingredients much easier.
  3. Mixing Bowls: You’ll need a few mixing bowls of different sizes for marinating the tofu and preparing the sauce.
  4. Whisk: A whisk is essential for combining the ingredients of your sweet spicy sauce until smooth.
  5. Paper Towels: Have paper towels on hand to press excess moisture out of the tofu before cooking.
  6. Large Skillet or Wok: To cook the tofu evenly, use a large skillet or wok with high sides.
  7. Tongs or Spatula: Tongs or a spatula are ideal for flipping and stirring the tofu without breaking it apart.
  8. Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements ensure your recipe turns out perfectly every time.
  9. Baking Sheet (Optional): If you prefer baking your tofu instead of frying it, have a baking sheet ready.

Preparation Steps

Follow these steps to prepare your sweet spicy tofu for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Pressing the Tofu

  1. Drain the tofu: Remove the tofu from its packaging and drain any excess water.
  2. Wrap in paper towels: Place the tofu block on a plate, wrap it in several layers of paper towels, and gently press down to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Press with weight: Place another plate or cutting board on top of the wrapped tofu and add some weight like canned goods or a heavy skillet. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes to extract more water.

Making the Marinade

  1. Combine ingredients: In a mixing bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, minced garlic (about 2 cloves), and grated ginger (about a 1-inch piece).
  2. Mix until smooth: Ensure all ingredients are well combined into a smooth marinade.

Marinating Tofu

  1. Cut into cubes: After pressing, cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes.
  2. Add to marinade: Place the tofu cubes in a shallow dish or bowl and pour over the marinade, making sure each piece is well-coated.
  3. Marinate time: Allow the tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes; you can let it soak longer for deeper flavor absorption—up to overnight in the refrigerator if desired.

Cooking Process

Now that your tofu is well-marinated, it’s time to bring everything together with a few simple steps.

Baking the Tofu

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  3. Arrange the marinated tofu cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even cooking until the tofu is golden brown and crisp.

Preparing the Sauce

  1. While the tofu bakes, prepare your sweet spicy sauce.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together:
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha or another hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  1. Heat a pan over medium heat and pour in the sauce mixture.
  2. Stir continuously until the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside.

Adding Baked Tofu

  1. Once the tofu is baked to perfection, remove it from the oven.
  2. Add the baked tofu cubes to your prepared sauce in the pan.
  3. Stir gently to coat each piece of tofu evenly with the sweet spicy sauce.
  4. Cook for an additional minute or two if needed to meld flavors.

Your sweet spicy tofu is now ready! Serve immediately topped with green onions, sesame seeds, and cilantro as desired for added freshness and flavor enhancement.

Serving Suggestions

When your sweet spicy tofu is ready, you might wonder how best to serve it. Here are some garnishing and pairing ideas to elevate your dish.


To enhance the flavors and add visual appeal:

  • Green Onions: Slice thinly and sprinkle over the tofu for a fresh, mild onion flavor.
  • Sesame Seeds: Toast lightly and scatter on top for a nutty crunch.
  • Cilantro: Chop roughly and use as a fragrant garnish adding a burst of color.

Pairing Ideas

Complement your sweet spicy tofu with these delicious sides:

  • Steamed Rice: Classic white jasmine rice or brown rice provides a neutral base that absorbs the sauce well.
  • Stir-Fried Vegetables: A mix of bell peppers, broccoli, snap peas, and carrots adds texture and additional nutrients.
  • Noodles: Serve with soba or udon noodles tossed in soy sauce for an Asian-inspired meal.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Tangy pickles like kimchi or pickled radishes can balance out the sweetness and spiciness of the tofu.
  • Salad Greens: A simple salad with mixed greens, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette offers a refreshing contrast.

Make-Ahead and Storage Tips

Preparing Ahead Of Time

Preparing the sweet spicy tofu ahead of time can save you a lot of effort during busy weekdays. You can marinate the tofu up to 24 hours in advance. Simply follow the marinating steps as described in the recipe and then store the marinated tofu in an airtight container. Keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to cook.

Storing Cooked Tofu

Once cooked, sweet spicy tofu stores well for several days. Allow the tofu to cool completely before transferring it into an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to five days.

Freezing Tips

For longer storage, you can freeze cooked sweet spicy tofu. Place cooled tofu pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so they do not touch each other and freeze them until solid. Once frozen, transfer them into a freezer-safe bag or container. This method prevents the pieces from sticking together and makes it easy to grab only what you need later on.

Reheating Instructions

Reheat your stored sweet spicy tofu by either microwaving or using a skillet over medium heat:

  • Microwave: Place desired portions on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel to retain moisture. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
  • Skillet: Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add your portion of tofu. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes until warmed throughout.

Maintaining Flavor And Texture

To maintain optimum flavor and texture when reheating, avoid overheating which can make the tofu rubbery or dry out its sauce. Adding a splash of water or additional marinade while reheating helps keep everything moist and delicious.


Sweet spicy tofu is a versatile and delicious dish that can easily elevate your meals. With simple preparation steps and customizable garnishes, it’s perfect for weeknight dinners or special occasions. Pair it with your favorite sides to create a well-rounded meal.

Remember to take advantage of the make-ahead and storage tips for effortless meal planning. Whether you’re marinating in advance or reheating leftovers, maintaining the tofu’s flavor and texture is easy.

Enjoy experimenting with this recipe and discovering new ways to incorporate sweet spicy tofu into your culinary repertoire.

Leave a Comment