Tofu Steak with Spicy Sweet Soy Sauce

This is a simple recipe using tofu. It’s just pan-fried flat tofu, but the sweet sauce gives a delicious taste. Pan-fried tofu with spicy sauce tossed with spring onion is one of my favourite street foods in China. The recipe is not complicated at all, but you can arrange it as you like. You can add crisp garlic chips on the top, you can put coriander instead of spring onion (I used chives here), and so on. The sauce should be sweet, salty and spicy. You can also make it buttery or garlicy too. First of all, let’s check the basic recipe.

Ingredients for Tofu Steak with Spicy Sweet Soy Sauce

  • Tofu (I used silky soft tofu this time): 1 package (454g)
  • Spring Onion or Chives
  • Olive Oil: 2 tablespoon
  • Potato Starch (Katakuri Powder) or Cornstarch

For Sauce

  • Soy Sauce: 3 tablespoons
  • Maple Syrup or Mirin: 1.5 or 2 tablespoons
  • White Wine: 1 tablespoon
  • Sambal or Doubanjiang: 1-2 teaspoons


  • Cut the tofu into flat rectangles.
  • Chop up the spring onion or chives.
  • Mix the ingredients for sauce

How to Make Tofu Steak with Spicy Sweet Soy Sauce

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet.

2. Apply the potato starch or cornstarch to tofu, place them in the skillet.

3. Cook them on a medium heat. Try not to move the tofu too much after you put them in a skillet.

4. After cooking for 1-2 minutes, turn over the tofu and cook them for 1-2 minutes. (Do not move them too much here as well)

5. After the tofu gets coloured, pour the sauce in a skillet. Tilt the skillet so that the sauce is spread throughout.

6. Turn off the heat, sprinkle the spring onion (or chives) and serve.


If you want to have a buttery taste, you can add a piece of butter before taking the skillet off the heat.

To give a garlic flavour, you can sprinkle the garlic chips on the top or add the crushed garlic to the sauce when you prepare it.

What kind of Tofu is the best?

There are different types of uncooked tofu in supermarkets in terms of the consistency, such as firm, medium firm and soft tofu. You can make tofu steak with any kind of tofu. Firm or medium firm tofu have a more solid texture and are less risky to get broken while being cooked. I used the silky soft tofu this time, which gave a creamy and smooth texture, although it easily breaks when you turn them over. So do not move them too often when you are cooking!

Potato Starch or Cornstarch?

I used cornstarch this time, but I think using potato starch is better for this recipe, if it’s available. In this recipe, you are almost shallow frying the tofu. Coating the tofu with potato starch or cornstarch can give a little crispy texture on the side of the tofu, and at the same time, they can absorb the sauce so that you can enjoy the spicy sweet soy flavour more.

>>> What is Katakuri Powder? What is the difference between Potato Starch and Cornstarch?

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