Every now and then it’s good for me to eat some protein rather than cookies.
And although I prefer cookies to tofu, as tofu goes, this is a win.
I know many people say they don’t like tofu, but I think that has more to do with the preparation than the product.
I wrote a Tofu Tips Post to help demystify preparing it and cooking it, so your tofu turns out right, every time.
One secret to making restaurant-style tofu at home is to use extra firm tofu that’s been very well pressed to remove the water. Removing the water before marinating it is key to creating dense and chewy tofu. Mushy tofu is not something I ever enjoy.
I use my Tofu Press, but if you don’t have one, wrapping the tofu in layers and layers of paper towels like it’s a little Christmas present, then setting it on a baking tray with another heavy object on top of it will work.
Placing a heavy cast iron pan on it so it’ll release at least a cup of water is necessary.
I press overnight, or for up to 3 days in advance. Just like I have cookie dough and bread dough chilling in my fridge, I usually have tofu pressing, too. It’s quite the scene in my fridge.
For the marinade, hot pepper jelly is a key ingredient. I love it so much and have two recipes for homemade. Either can it or make it on the stove top, in about an hour.
Trader Joe’s version is great or it’s sold in the condiments or ethnic foods aisle of most grocery stores. If your store doesn’t carry hot pepper jelly, using sweet and sour sauce will work. You may wish to add some finely diced red peppers or cayenne to kick it up if you’re using sweet and sour sauce.
The tofu cooks very fast. After a quick 7 minute stint under the broiler, it’s ready. Make sure when you’re broiling it, to pay very, very close attention so you don’t char it.
Before broiling, blot any major pooling of marinade like you can see on the Silpat. If you don’t blot that, it’ll char into a black, gross mess before the tofu cooks through and your smoke detector will probably go off.
Your oven, marinade, and the moisture content will determine broiling time and even an extra minute can cause it to go from raw to burnt. Stand in the kitchen in front of the oven and watch it the entire time.
After 5 minutes, I open the oven door and rotate the pan every 30 seconds or so, finding the sweet spot under the broiler until all pieces are evenly golden.
The marinade of hot pepper jelly, honey (or agave to keep vegan), and apple cider vinegar thickens while it cooks, creating a glistening hot slick on the firm, chewy, and dense tofu.
The ginger, cayenne, and red pepper flavors marry and pack a punch with creeper heat. If you want in-your-face heat, double the cayenne pepper.
I love broiled tofu and could eat the whole block in a sitting. Since it’s vegan, gluten-free, and packed with protein I wouldn’t feel bad.
It’s also great diced and tossed with extra marinade over quinoa, couscous, lentils, or in a brown rice side salad. Leftovers can be served chilled or warm, it’s great either way.
It’s hot, sweet, sour, tangy. All the elements I go for. It’s firm, dense, extra chewy, and not mushy.
It’ll make believers out of tofu naysayers.
Pin This Recipe
Hot and Sour Broiled Tofu
This tofu will make a believer out of even people who say they don’t like tofu. The secret to making it is to start with well-pressed tofu. It’s firm, chewy, and full of intense flavor – sweet from the hot pepper jelly and honey/agave, while the cayenne, ginger, and hot peppers pieces add a kick. It’s addictive in the way spicier foods are – once you start, you want more, which is okay when it’s as healthy as this recipe.
- one 16-ounce block extra-firm tofu; drained, pressed, and sliced
- heaping 1/2 cup hot pepper jelly] (use homemade [hot pepper jelly
- 1/2 cup h0ney (or agave to keep vegan)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- Open tofu package, drain the water, and place tofu in a tofu press and press it for at least one hour, or overnight; refrigerate it if you’re pressing overnight. If you don’t have a tofu press, wrap the block of tofu in at least 8 paper towels, going round and round, like wrapping a present. Place the wrapped tofu on a rimmed baking sheet. Place another baking sheet on top of the tofu and set a heavy cookbook or cast iron pan on top. The weight from the heavy object will cause the tofu to release water and the paper towels will soak it up, and excess water will be contained in the baking sheet. If you notice the paper towels are drenched, unbundle the tofu, and re-wrap as necessary. The most water will release in the first 30 minutes, but there’s value to pressing for up to 24 hours for extra-extra chewy tofu. If you plan to press it longer than 3 to 4 hours, you may want to refrigerate it.
- Meanwhile, make the marinade by whisking together all ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Slice the pressed tofu into 12 to 16 thin slices and place slices in the marinade. Very gently spoon the marinade over the slices and turn them to coat evenly. They are fragile, so do this very tenderly and carefully. Allow slices to marinade for at least 15 minutes, or up to 12 hours. You can let them marinate for the day while you’re at work which makes for an almost work-free dinner that night; cover and refrigerate if you’re marinating for many hours.
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. I use my Siplat although technically you’re not supposed to broil with it. Do not bake on an unlined baking tray unless you love doing really stubborn with blackened and baked-on bits; set aside.
- Turn broiler to high and position a rack on the top slot or second slot from the top of the oven. (I use the second slot)
- Place marinated slices on the prepared tray and make sure there are no puddles of marinade pooling on the tray. It will burn horribly. Wipe off excess with a paper towel if necessary. Reserve extra marinade in a small bowl for dipping after baking.
- Broil for about 7 minutes, or until edges are just beginning to turn golden and darken, with 9 minutes likely being the maximum. Watch your tofu the entire time, stand in front of the oven and do not leave the kitchen. The tofu can and will burn in a matter of one minute so keep a very, very watchful eye on it. I keep the door closed for the first 4-5 minutes. Then I open the door, rotate the tray, and stand in front of the oven with the door ajar, usually for about 2-3 more minutes. I rotate the tray a few times over those 2-3 minutes to find the sweet spot of my broiler’s heat.
- Allow tofu to cool on tray for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Tofu will keep airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I like this tofu both warm or served chilled. Serving Tip – Dice the tofu and combine with rice or quinoa and other diced vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, snow peas, or corn. Toss with the extra marinade or with a simple balsamic and oil-based dressing; serve warm or chilled.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 53Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g
I have a Tofu Tips Post – What to do to so your tofu turns out right, every time
Barbeque Tofu with Pineapple and Mango
Peanut Sauce Baked Tofu (vegan, GF)
Pumpkin Spiced Brown Rice Tempeh and Cranberry Salad (vegan, GF) – Serve warm or chilled
Sweet and Sour Honey Lemon Tofu
Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette (vegan, GF) – Serve warm or chilled
Pumpkin Honey Tofu – This tofu turns out like pumpkin bread because of a freezing technique. I highly recommend both the technique and the recipes. Freezing tofu before cooking it gives tofu a chewy, almost bread-like texture and quality, the opposite of mushy
Maple Ginger Mango Tofu (vegan, GF)
Hot Pepper Jelly (vegan, GF)
Stovetop Hot Pepper Jelly (vegan, GF) – Ready in about an hour
Do you make tofu? What flavors, marinades, sauces, spices, or cooking techniques do you use?
I don’t cook tofu often because I never seem to get it just right, thanks for the tips! And your pics are beautiful:)
Boy do I need to invest in a tofu press, because this looks delightful!
This dish is beautiful, so vibrant and delicious looking :)
I was wondering why I never saw this post when you mentioned it on my blog this morning and then discovered the whole tabbed inbox dealie that gmail just pushed out has messed up all my blog subscriptions. So now I know! Just pinned this one because I am TOTALLY making it soon. I love your pineapple mango tofu and I know I’ll love this one too!
Thanks for pinning and the gmail thing – girl I figured it out last week after my inbox felt so ‘light’. Yeah. There were like 200 messages accumulated in…a day.
I enjoyed reading your Tofu Tips! I grew up eating tofu and it’s one of the healthy light ingredient in my cooking. Love the tofu being broiled and glazed with sweet and sour sauce!
I highly doubt you need me to learn about tofu – I need you! I would love to try your tofu, Nami! Thanks for pinning, too!
Great pictures! This looks amazing :)
I ate tofu once and I remember that, unfortunately, I didn’t like it. But it’s highly possible it was just my fault because I had no clue which herbs should I add or what would be good to compose it with.
I’m going to make that tofu from your recipe and I believe it will be delicious :) It looks definitely encouraging.
You make tofu look so incredible!! I’m not sure if my family would normally eat tofu, but I bet I could get them to eat this!!
I didn’t know you had so many tofu recipes! :) I love tofu and usually cube it, marinate it, and use it as protein in stir-fry, though I may have to try baking/broiling it like you do.
Your method is great, too! And yes, I do have a lot of them in my archives!
I am a HUGE tofu lover. Jason wouldn’t go near it but I could eat it every night. I honestly don’t press it that well though since I’m so lazy and exhausted. I think I’m really going to have to invest in a tofu press soon!
If you could eat it every nite and you can deal with it not as well pressed, then more power to you. If you press it, you will just love it even more – and maybe Jason will enjoy it. The ONLY way I could get Scott to eat it is by pressing it very well and seasoning it and making sure the texture is right!
I was so hoping you’d kick up some tofu at some point!
And that you did.
I love tofu and this looks particularly delicious. GREG
Greg that means the world coming from you – THANKS!!!
THANK YOUR FOR THIS….an amazing tutorial…perfectly explained and photographed….I am a “newbie” to the world of tofu…but here in France it is becoming more of a popular item…and no GMO’s!! Yes.
Question…I have a silken tub varietal that I purchased which is about to arrive at its’ DATE OF EXPIRATION…Just WHAT can I make with this to not let it go to waste?!…Could I drain and press…freeze in the same manner…or should I attempt a pseudo ranch dressing or “faux mousse”…or …or?…I must find the “firmer” stuff (I’ve seen “shelf stable”…non- refrigerated varietals recently…but my silken is the refrigerated sort of tofu) because I want to try your press method and make your pepper jelly…All your offerings look scrumptious. Continued thanks for sharing.
I would use what you have but just pressssssss it for a longggg time. Because it’s silken, that just means it has more water to begin with, so it will release a ton of water. Just let it drain and drain. For up to 24 hours or so. At the bare minimum, 4 hours. The longer the better so that you’re starting with something firm – otherwise it just tastes like much when you bake it. Glad you like the post!
I need a tofu press in my life asap. Trader Joe’s has an amazing pepper jelly.
If you make tofu regularly, the press is the BEST use of 20 bucks. Seriously, a total game changer! And I totally agree w/ you about the TJs pepper jelly!
Definitely looks like a savory cookie…love tofu in any form. Will surely pin this one.
thanks for pinning!
I’ve never really been a tofu lover but the way you prepared it here makes it super appealing – love the hot pepper jelly in your marinade!
I’ve never prepared tofu at home (usually just throw it in a salad if I see it on a food bar at a store) but you’ve made me very interested in trying it! The marinade sounds delicious.
Oh, you have a tofu press!! Lucky duck. :D I have always been in the tofu fan club but I have to admit it’s been a while since we met. This recipe sounds like the perfect way to get reacquainted.
I haven’t had tofu in a really long time! I’ve been gravitating towards tempeh lately. But this recipe sounds awesome. I feel the same way about tofu…it can’t be mushy. I think that’s why some people say they hate it so much–they’ve just never had it prepared well. Tofu rocks when it’s done right!
By the way, I just started my blog not too long ago. I’m looking for good blogs to follow, and I’ll be following yours from now on! :)
Amazing it looks like pan fried halloumi cheese!
I totally wanted to make fried halloumi the past month – but I decide on baked tofu. But yeah, cheese like that is amazing :)
What an interesting recipe! I’ll shamefully admit that I have never seen a tofu press, and on first glance thought it was some sort of medieval torture contraption – glad to know it’s not. I love that you broil the tofu here – looks delicious!
Omg girl it’s the difference between chilling your cookie dough and not. NIGHT AND DAY results difference! You will looooooove it. So totally worth the 20 bucks. Hugely!
I love jumping onto blogs like this one. I know very little about tofu. I was intrigued with this recipe. Sounds really good. I think it would be a healthy fix to my sweet tooth.
glad you found it helpful and will be a nice balance to your sweet tooth – It is for mine :)
This recipe looks amazing. Your hot pepper jelly is one of your best recipes. I discovered it in London and have not looked back! I didn’t know tofu presses existed!
Glad you like it so much!
I’ve never seen tofu look so good! I am very interested in trying this dish. Great colorful pictures as well!
Thanks, Laura. I tried! :)
Tofu is typically hard to photograph but you nailed it beautifully- no surprise there! ;) I’ve been eating more and more tofu and tempeh recently as I am pescatarian and attempting to eventually go vegan so this is a fantastic recipe! I will be making it for dinner for sure!
Thanks Maggie and yes, it’s hard to photography b/c it’s either white or tan and boring looking; or flat and thin, so there’s color and shape issues. How to give it some lift and perkiness off the plate! Good for you for trying to change things up a bit and being willing to give this a try!
Tofu definitely has a bad reputation! I usually press mine, then freeze it, then press it again. Nice and chewy! I love broiling it too, yum yum. Will have to try your marinade, sounds delish!
I usually press mine, then freeze it, then press it again <--- I have a recipe where I call for that, that I linked, the Pumpkin Tofu recipe. I truly love what freezing/re-pressing does but people get impatient with all those steps so I don't call for it, but...it's truly the best method!
Nope, not a tofu fan, but I am a HUGE fan of ginger, cayenne, and red pepper! I am on a huge Asian kick with food right now, too. Actually I just made some mango-ginger salsa with a very similar sweet-salty-spicey flavor profile this morning. I’m eating it for dinner and trying to not snack on it all afternoon. :D
I think I just overdid tofu in my vegetarian days. Keep up with the savory posts though! I love the ideas – these start the snowballing process for me!
mango-ginger salsa sounds delish – I need to make my own b/c storebought is loaded with sodium or raw red onions, no thanks!
And the savory posts, well when your freezer is FULL of sugar and you just can’t make one more sugary thing, you make…tofu. These posts never do well statistically but sometimes even I have to lay off the sugary posts for a day :)
It looks amazing! I add tofu to salads, but other methods of preparation, I have not tried.
I love to make tofu hacks of Asian traditionally dishes! This is such a classic but so much better for you. I have one for Roasted char sui tofu (simillar to barque but sweeter) and working on hack for kung poa tofu too. Such an lovely post. I like your savoury side!
Wow I need to take a lesson from you on the Asian dishes! I can make tofu – that’s about it :)
Always looking for new ways to prepare tofu… Thank you for these great ideas!
Yum, this looks like a great tofu recipe! Great addition of spice with sweetness.
Hi Christine! If I remember, you do more tempeh than tofu (it’s easier!) – and makes me wish I had some tempeh now, too :)
I’m so glad you like tofu, Averie. It doesn’t have any flavor on its own, and I don’t know why people give it such a bad reputation. Your hot and sour version looks awesome!
I think the same about avocado – neutral and blank slate. But I think it’s a texture issue for people. Which is why I hope people just press the water out – after that, it’s so good!
This sounds delicious. Thanks for the tip on blotting the marinade. I love broiling my tofu because it really does get the best taste and texture, but let’s just say my smoke alarm does not love it! Recently I’ve tried broiling it dry and adding the sauce after, and that actually works surprisingly well. I’ll have to try the blotting method!
Your method is at least a guarantee not to wear out the batteries in the smoke detector (been there!!!) – I just worried doing it that way (thought about it) that it wouldnt be as flavorful b/c it wouldn’t absorb the marinate; but the smoke detector situation is nuts so would be worth any minor sacrifice!
Hot pepper jelly sounds delicious as a marinade! And to be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the texture right for tofu- but I’m going to follow your method to a T next time and hope for the best :)
It can be tricky to figure out how to get it down pat, but once you do (just follow my recipe!) you will never have mushy/weird texture tofu again :)
This looks amazing! Great recipe!
Averie, I just spent like 10 minutes looking through all your tofu recipes. Wow! They look so good. I love the BBQ tofu with pineapple and mango. That sounds right up my alley!! Oh and so does this sweet and sour version!! I love all sweet and sour chicken so why not tofu! YUM!
Yeah once upon a time I blogged more savory stuff and some of those are from like 2009 and the photography scares me. Lol But the recipes still work :)
I’m all over this! Broiled tofu is so delicious!
You know this is right up my alley. I still don’t have a press – but I have my own little set up complete with bricks LOL. We’ve actually been grilling it on a cedar plank lately with a very Asian style bbq sauce. It pains me not to flip it b/c I think it’s not going to get firm on both sides, but it does. It sort of smokes it. So good!
I stopped flipping my broiler tofu because you loose all the good stuff by flipping it, i.e. the little pepper chunks or if it’s peanut sauce, it gets lost to the baking sheet. The compromise is not quite as firm on the one side but I hate wasting the good stuff to the baking tray! Your grilling set up sounds so good!
Nice cookie diversion…must try this tofu!
lol – I had so much sugar in the house already, I figured, well, something different :)
I really like baked tofu. I especially like one that uses lemon juice, garlic and miso and a few other things. I have to try this one though!
I love all of your tofu recipes, Averie! The maple ginger mango tofu caught my eye way back when you posted it – same with the BBQ pineapple mango tofu too! I love sweet + sour chicken, so I know I’d love this new version of your tofu! I love all your tofu tips to. I love tofu dense and chewy and it took me SO long to learn how to obtain that! I need a tofu press ASAP.
It’s so handy if you make tofu regularly b/c otherwise you go thru like…a half roll of paper towels just blotting up all that water! It’s like chilling your cookie dough – once you start, you’ll be amazed!!! at the difference in results!
I have tried a couple of your tofu recipes–peanut and pumpkin (I remember being curious about the texture on that one–very good)! Tofu is such a nice blank slate for whatever flavor you want it to take on and this one looks yummy with hot pepper jelly. I also think this would make a nice marinade for fish and chicken (maybe with a little less agave).
It would make a great marinade – maybe with a little less agave, yes. But it’s more of a spicy than a sweet :) And the peanut and pumpkin tofu recipes – oldies but goodies! I love them both!
This actually makes me want to eat tofu…which is something I never thought I’d say!
Lol – well that’s great then!