Japanese Marinaded Tofu

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One Of The Best Marinades For Tofu

This Japanese Marinaded Tofu is so easy, tasty and inexpensive to make. If you love tofu this is the recipe you will mix up in a minute. This marinated tofu can be eaten hot or cold so you can make plenty of extra for the week ahead. Just throw it on your salads, stir fry, buddha bowl or just grab and eat on the run. It is a quick fix to add high protein into your diet and definitely a tofu the whole family will love.

Japanese Marinated Tofu. One Of The Best Marinades For Tofu. Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

How To Press Tofu

A lot of people say they don’t like tofu because it doesn’t have any taste. Well the trick to the wonderful flavor of tofu is that it has to be drained properly. If it is drained enough it will pick up the flavor of whatever you marinade or spice it with. Although, it has to be done right!

When I make this Japanese Marinaded Tofu I use firm or extra firm tofu. I take it out of the container that it is stored in from the market and put it in a large strainer and I set a large heavy bowl on top to help press all the water out. If I am short on time I will put a couple of bowls on top to press out the water. Although, you don’t want to crush the tofu so be careful. The longer it drains the better it will pick up the flavor of the marinade. Another option is a tofu press. My web designer loves her’s and has been using it for years. I’m so hands on but I will have to get her tofu press to make life easier.

How To Make Japanese Marinated Tofu

After you have pressed your tofu cut it into 1 inch cubes. Put all the tofu cubes in a flat pan and cover with the marinade. You want enough of the marinade to cover most of the tofu because where it touches the marinade it will pick up flavor. I like to marinade over night but 4 hours will do. After it is marinaded it is time to fry it up in a pan. You have to use a little oil unless you have a really good non-stick pan. The trick to getting the tofu brown is not moving the tofu for 3 to 4 minutes while it is frying. This will let it get crispy and brown and easy to flip. Repeat doing this instead of moving them around too much.

How To Make Japanese Marinaded Tofu. Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

It is a little challenge to keep these cubes from breaking because you have to cook them on all sides. I use cooking tongs to grab them and flip them over. Make sure not to discard the marinade. I use a little of it to add to the tofu at the end when it is almost done. This gives it that extra boost of flavor. Plus I use it to cook some veggies in that will go well with tofu. Just cook the veggies until they are al dente.

How To Make Japanese Marinated Tofu and cooking it with veggies. Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

Using Yondu For Marinade

I discovered this wonderful organic vegan alternative to soy sauce called Yondu Vegetable Umami. I used it in this Japanese Marinated Tofu. It has a wonderful taste that is so very similar to soy sauce. This is a very nice substitute and I will be using it a lot. I really enjoy it’s salty, rich umami flavor. Definitely one to keep on the table for dinner.

Using Yondu Vegetable Umami For Marinades. Photo by Spicy Saucy

Years ago I lived in Hawaii and this marinade brings back great memories of some very wonderful restaurants there. Whenever I need a flash back to a warm tropical island I make this Japanese marinaded tofu. Sometimes it’s just that easy! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

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Japanese Marinaded Tofu

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  • Author: Spicy Saucy Vegan
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Brunch, Dinner, Lunch, Snack
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Diet: Vegan


This Japanese Marinaded Tofu is by far one of the best marinades I have ever made. It is so super tasty exploding with flavor, easy to make and adaptable for a variety of dishes. It is so versatile that you can eat this marinaded tofu hot or cold. It is perfect for adding extra protein to your diet.


  • 8oz Extra Firm Tofu

Tofu Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp Yondu Vegetable Umami or Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • 3 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 Large Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Ginger or 1/2 tsp Dried Ginger


  1. Drain and press the tofu with your tofu press. When done pressing cut into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Put into a large flat surfaced pan. Make sure that all the tofu can be half covered in the marinade. Marinate for 4 hours or over night. ( I like them over night for best results) Flip over the tofu half way through the marinade duration time.
  3. Heat your skillet on medium and add a tablespoon of sesame oil. (I use American made Lodge Cast Iron Skillets) When hot add the tofu cubes. (Do not discard the marinade) Try to place them so that each one is laying flat on the surface of the frying pan. Let them cook for about 3 to 4 minutes before turning with kitchen tongs. Do this on each side of the the tofu cubes. They should be brown and golden in color. When done add a little marinade to the tofu cubes while they are frying. They will absorb the marinade quickly. This will give them an extra bust of flavor. They are ready to serve.

Veggies Cooked In The Marinade

  1. In an large skillet on medium heat add a Tablespoon of sesame oil. When heated add your favorite veggies (such as bok choy, green spring onions, carrots, celery or mushrooms) that go with your tofu. Add the marinade that was left over from the tofu and cook your veggies until they are al dante. Serve with your tofu.


Store leftover tofu in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 – 4 days.

This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled for larger groups.

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