There are lots of things to marinate tofu in but, to maximize flavor, you can always follow one approach for good results: water out, marinade in. If you don’t get out all of the moisture in the tofu, two things happen: the marinade can’t get all up in there, and the marinade gets all watered down. Don’t do this to tofu … cut it, then towel press it! Be like Tofu B.

This marinade is a chunky+spicy blend of sambal, ginger, garlic, toasted sesame oil and other stuff. The tofu is marinated, then transferred to a hot cast iron pan to develop a little sear, then the marinade is dumped into the mix to slightly reduce and make a luscious sauce to serve alongside slightly wilted bok choy.

Serve it with rice or noodles (or even mashed potatoes!) and a little vegan kimchi for some funky crunch on the side for a super fast+delicious weeknight dinner!

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Sambal + Ginger Tofu with Air-Fried Bok Choy





Yield 2 servings


for the marinade + tofu

for the rest

  • 2-4 heads of baby bok choy, base sliced off
  • prepared rice or noodles
  • sesame seeds
  • scallions, thai chilis and/or vegan kimchi


to make the marinade

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients except for the tofu in a medium-sized glass pyrex.
  2. Place the properly cut and pressed tofu into the marinade, flipping to cover on both sides. 
  3. Place into refrigerator for a few hours, flipping after 2 or 3 hours to ensure even coverage.

to cook the tofu + reduce the marinade

  1. Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Place the tofu into the hot pan and allow to brown on one side (no more than 2-3 minutes per side). Flip and repeat on the other side.
  2. Remove the tofu, then pour the remaining marinade into the cast iron pan. Allow to sizzle until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

to prepare the bok choy

  1. Place the bok choy into an air fryer set at 350 until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. 
  2. You can alternatively wilt the bok choy in a hot pan with a little oil.

to serve

  1. Distribute the tofu onto two plates. Drizzle the reduced sauce over both. Add the bok choy and rice/noodles as desired, along with sesame seeds, sliced scallions and kimchi. Serve immediately.

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