I made this to bring to a friend’s house. We’re making sushi and one of the people coming is vegetarian, so she’ll be using this in her sushi instead of fish. The original recipe called for flour, cornstarch, and bread crumbs, but I found that just using egg was enough to get the sesame seeds to stick well. (I tried just rolling the tofu in sesame seeds without the egg. They stuck fine while the tofu was cold, but all fell off while it was cooking.) Some pieces of tofu broke off when I was turning the tofu in the marinade. After I’d fried the big pieces, I put the little pieces in the remaining egg, added the remaining sesame seeds, and fried up the lot like an omelette. I ate it with sriracha and recommend it.
I used 2 blocks of Chinese water-pack tofu. It’s very inexpensive at the Chinese market down the street – a 12 block package cost $2.59. (It’s not vacuum sealed and they get it in multiple times a week, from what I’ve seen. There’s a big bucket next to the tofu so that you can pour off some of the water to make it lighter to bring home. Then you just cover the tofu with fresh water at home. It lasts a week or two in the fridge – it helps to change the water every couple days – or you can freeze some of the blocks to make a chewier tofu that’s good for some applications.)
12 oz. tofu
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I recommend against olive oil if you’re going to be refrigerating the tofu while it’s marinating)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup sesame seeds (I don’t measure them – I just put some on a plate and then add more when I need to)
Marinate the tofu. Remove the tofu from the liquid. Cut it into the shapes you prefer. I made sticks shaped like thick carrot sticks. Place the tofu pieces in a bowl. Stir together the olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes. Pour over the tofu. It’s best if you can let this marinate for a few hours (rotating every 20-30 minutes) but if you only have an hour that’ll work too.
Make two plates to coat the tofu. One plate has the whisked egg (unless your plates have a lip, use a bowl). The second plate has the sesame seeds. Drain the tofu from the marinade. Roll the tofu in the egg and then in the sesame seeds, coating all sides.
Pan fry in some more oil over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. I found that using tongs helped me more easily move the tofu around and set them on every edge so they got cooked on each side.