Skip to Content

Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu

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.

A prepared dish of Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu
Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu, ready to eat.

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:

Tofu
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.

Fun note: This sauce uses nearly all the same ingredients as our dumpling dipping sauce! It’s also similar to the sauce for our wontons with sesame sauce.

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.

A prepared bowl of black sesame sauce.
The prepared black sesame sauce.

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.

Ingredients for Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu. Ingredients include black sesame seeds, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili oil, and tofu.
Ingredients for Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu.

Ingredients

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.)

A plate of sliced tofu in the steamer, getting ready to steam.
Putting the sliced tofu in the steamer.

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!

Spooning the black sesame sauce over the steamed tofu.
Spooning the black sesame sauce over the steamed tofu.

FAQs and Tips

How long does this dish keep?

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.

How thick is this sauce?

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.

Extra sauce leftover?

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.

A prepared dish of Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu
Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu, ready to eat!

Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

A prepared dish of Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu

Black Sesame Sauce On Steamed Tofu

Yield: 3-4 servings as an appetizer or side dish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

A simple, comforting, and flavorful dish of steamed tofu topped with a savory black sesame sauce. Made with pantry ingredients like soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Perfect as an appetizer or side dish. P.S. Use any extra black sesame sauce as a salad dressing!

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Scrape the black sesame paste into a bowl.
  3. Add the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and chili oil. Whisk until well mixed.
  4. Slice and place the tofu on a plate. Steam the tofu for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Pour the black sesame sauce on top of the tofu right before serving. Enjoy hot!

Notes

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.

Karen

Friday 11th of June 2021

Hi Kathy! I need some help. I thought I ordered black sesame paste, but I mistakenly ordered black sesame powder. So, I'm trying to figure out how to make the paste; I want to make 2 versions, sweet and savory. From what I can find out in my research, one simply dilutes with either sesame oil or honey. Is it truly that simple? I'm mostly concerned for the sweet paste because I want to make icecream and I am worried that the honey will get too hard in the icecream freezer. Thanks, Karen

Skip to Recipe