Steamed tofu and a savory black sesame sauce come together in this easy and comforting dish. A flavorful black sesame sauce includes soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a bit of chili oil. Serve hot! Enjoy as an appetizer, side dish, or afternoon snack.
Why This Recipe Works
This is one of those dishes that doesn't look so pretty but tastes super onolicious! There are two components to this dish:
We just slice the tofu, put it on a plate and steam it.
Black Sesame Sauce
I love the deep and dark color of black sesame sauce. It's packed with the nutty fragrance of black sesame seeds. The soy sauce gives a bit of saltiness and the rice vinegar gives it a tang.
In terms of texture, I like this sauce at medium thickness, but some people prefer it more thick or thin. It is easy to adjust to your preference.
We make the sauce by mixing black sesame paste (just blend roasted black sesame seeds with sesame oil) with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili oil.
To serve, just spoon the black sesame sauce on top of the steamed tofu and...tadah! Ready to eat. It is so tasty and also pretty healthy.
Black Sesame Seeds
We love all things black sesame! For this recipe you'll need roasted black sesame seeds. We blend these seeds in a food processor to make a black sesame paste. The paste is the foundation of this sauce.
If you don't have a food processor or want to make this recipe even more simple, just purchase black sesame paste from the Japanese market or online. This will save you most of the "work" involved in this recipe. Black sesame paste is a handy ingredient to have at home (we use it to make dressings, sweet soups, puddings, etc).
For a sweet take on black sesame, make sure to try Chinese black sesame soup.
Here are the ingredients! These are all popular pantry ingredients here in Hawaii. They are so common that you can even find all the ingredients at our local drugstore ^_^
- Roasted black sesame seeds - Make sure to get roasted seeds. You can find this at most asian markets.
- Sesame oil
- Rice vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Chili oil - Chili oil is optional, but I love that subtle and unexpected bit of heat.
- Block of soft tofu - Soft tofu is preferred, but this recipe also works well with medium-firm and even firm tofu. (I only had a block of firm tofu from Aloha Tofu Factory, so that is what I used for this post.)
Step by Step Directions
Ready to start cooking?
Make the black sesame paste.
Place the seeds in a food processor and blend 1-2 minutes (give the food processor a break every 15 seconds so you don’t overwork the machine).
Once the black sesame turns all powdery, add the sesame oil. Process the mixture for another 15 seconds.
Protip: If you have pre-made black sesame paste, you can skip this step and just use the black sesame paste in place of the black sesame seeds and sesame oil.
Make the sauce.
Scrape the blended black sesame paste into a small bowl. Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and chili oil (optional). Whisk until well mixed.
Protip: If you want a thinner sauce, just add equal parts of soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.
Steam the tofu.
Slice and place the tofu on a plate. Steam the tofu for 10-15 minutes.
Plate and serve.
Pour the black sesame sauce on top of the tofu right before serving. Eat and enjoy hot!
FAQs and Tips
You should enjoy this right after you make it. You want hot tofu straight from the steamer, and the sauce poured over the tofu right before you eat it.
You can prepare the sauce up to 2 days in advance. But don't steam the tofu and pour the sauce on until you're ready to eat.
I usually make the sauce medium thick. Imagine the consistency of a thick gravy.
Some people prefer the sauce thinner (do this by adding equal amounts of soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar). The nice part about a thin sauce is that it's easier to spoon over tofu.
If you prefer the sauce thicker, use less liquid and more of the black sesame seeds. Because thick sauces are harder to just pour/spoon over the tofu, I've seen restaurants serve the sauce as individual dollops over each piece of steamed tofu.
Basically, all three ways work and they are equally delicious.
If you have extra sauce left, lucky you! The sauce makes a great salad dressing, or you can also toss it with other vegetables. I like to toss it with blanched green beans (which would make it the black sesame version of this Green Beans with Sesame Dressing (Gomaae) recipe.
Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu Recipe
See below and enjoy ^_^
- Make the black sesame paste first. Place the seeds in a food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes (give the food processor a break every 15 seconds so you don’t overwork it). Once the black sesame seeds turns all powdery, add the sesame oil. Process the mixture for another 15 seconds.
- Scrape the black sesame paste into a bowl.
- Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and chili oil. Whisk until well mixed.
- Slice and place the tofu on a plate. Steam the tofu for 10-15 minutes.
- Pour the black sesame sauce on top of the tofu right before serving. Enjoy hot!
If you prefer to used pre-made black black sesame paste (which can be purchased at Japanese markets), just skip Step 1 and replace the black sesame seeds and sesame oil with just the black sesame paste.
Leftover black sesame sauce makes a great salad dressing. You can thin the sauce out a little more with equal parts soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.