This pan-fried Asian Tofu with Spicy Garlic Prune Sauce is quick, easy and packed with flavour! It’s a great midweek vegan dinner with a tasty Chinese sauce that’s sweet (from Sunsweet Californian prune juice!), spicy, salty and savoury. Ready in just 30 minutes.
Recipe sponsored by Sunsweet.
Asian Tofu Recipe
Crispy Asian Tofu is marinated in a sweet, spicy, garlic sauce, then pan-fried to get it crispy on the outside and soft inside. Perfect with rice and stir-fried greens.
Prune juice gives a deep, caramelly sweetness as the marinade. Then add soy sauce, chilli, sugar and the bold flavours of Chinese 5-spice to create a simple, but delicious sauce.
In just a few minutes, you have a complex, delicious marinade.
Tofu acts as a flavour-sponge, so it soaks up the Asian sauce, then you quickly pan-fry it to get it crispy.
It’s easy, tasty and full of great taste.
We love this at my house, and I hope you’ll love it too.
What ingredients do I need for this recipe?
Tofu (look for extra firm, or press it to remove excess moisture – instructions below – so that it gets beautifully crispy.
Sunsweet prune juice – my secret for a rich sauce
Sugar (or try maple syrup)
Chilli flakes (aka red pepper flakes)
Chinese Five-Spice (an aromatic blend of cloves, cinnamon, fennel, Szechuan peppercorns and star anise)
Oil (I use sesame oil)
To serve (all optional)
Chinese greens or pak choi
Scallions (spring onions)
Sunsweet Prune Juice
I’ve teamed up with Sunsweet to bring you this recipe. You’ll undoubtedly know Sunsweet, they’ve been growing and drying fruit for over 100 years.
They’re a company made up of cooperative growers that bring generations of expertise to the craft of cultivating prunes – and they supply a whopping 1/3 of the worldwide prune market!
I think that prune juice gets a pretty bad rap. We probably all know it’s considered healthy and great for the lower end of the digestive system. But it’s not just for Grandma. Prune juice is a source of dietary fibre and potassium that’s naturally fat-, saturated fat- and salt-free, with flavour that’s just from 100% sun-ripened prunes.
It’s certainly refreshing to read an ingredients label that only has one ingredient, and that’s what you get with Sunsweet – it’s 100% water-extracted Californian prune juice.
Our Prune juice has a velvety, rich, some say chocolaty taste – Sunsweet
It’s not surprising that prune juice is a growing trend in the UK!
Though some often consider it a remedy for digestion issues or regularity, it can also be a part of a healthy diet. And not just for drinking, but you can use the versatile drink in smoothies, sauces, salad dressings and in my Asian Tofu marinade.
It’s a drink with a Feel-Good vibe. And I like to feel good by eating nourishing, whole foods with lots of plants. So read on for the recipe.
Why you’ll love this Chinese Tofu recipe
- The simple sauce is bursting with Asian flavors.
- Skip the takeout and make this vegan Chinese dish at home.
- You only need a knife, chopping board, bowl and wok or frying pan.
- This is a quick midweek meal, ready in just 30 minutes.
- You can save time by marinating the tofu in the morning or the night before. Then just pan fry and serve!
- Sunsweet prune juice in the sauce not only adds fibre and nutrients but also a velvety and rich deep flavor. Plums are often used in Asian sauces, but here I’ve taken it a step further to include prune juice!
- Try it with some other vegan Chinese recipes.
Other 30-minute vegan dinner recipes
If you’re looking for quick midweek meat-free dinner recipes, then you’ve come to the right place! Try these tasty vegan dinners – all ready in under 30 minutes.
How to make Asian Tofu with Spicy Garlic Prune Sauce
This recipe is so easy! Just follow these step-by-step instructions for perfect results.
Then scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients and method.
1. Add all the spicy garlic prune marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk.
2. Make a slurry with the cornflour in water.
3. Whisk the cornflour slurry into the marinade to thicken.
4. If necessary, press the tofu to remove excess moisture.
5. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
6. Add to the bowl of marinade and leave for 10 minutes so it soaks up the flavours.
7. Add the tofu to a wok or frying pan with a little oil and cook until the outside gets crispy and golden.
8. Serve with rice and stir-fried Chinese greens.
Scroll down for the full recipe.
Tips and Tricks for the BEST Asian Tofu
- Be sure to use firm tofu. Ideally extra firm so it holds together in cubes in the pan.
- If you have time to press the tofu, it gets all the water out so it gets crispier. If you don’t have time, it’s still tasty!
- Try substituting the sugar for maple syrup.
- I like to use sesame oil for Chinese cooking, but you can use any other cooking oil.
Can this recipe be prepped ahead of time?
You can prep the Asian marinade ahead of time. Just mix it all together and leave it in the fridge. You can also marinate the tofu for up to 2 days in the fridge.
I find that it’s best eaten right after cooking, however, if you have leftover tofu, just keep it in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheat it in a pan.
Did you make this Chinese tofu recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you!
Leave a comment and star rating below and share a picture with the hashtag #veggiedesserts. I love seeing your recreations of my vegetarian and vegan recipes.
Disclosure: This recipe was commissioned by Sunsweet. As ever, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to write VeggieDesserts.
Asian Tofu with Spicy Garlic Prune Sauce
For the Spicy Garlic Prune Sauce
- 14 oz (400g) firm tofu
- 1/4 cup (60ml) Sunsweet prune juice
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (red pepper flakes)
- ½ tsp Chinese five-spice
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil or other cooking oil
- 1 tsp cornflour dissolved in 1 tbsp water
- Handful Chinese greens
- Handful bean sprouts
- 1 Scallion (spring onion), chopped
- Sliced red chilli
- Sesame seeds black and white
- Press the tofu by placing it on a plate wrapped in a few pieces of paper towel and set another plate on top. Place something heavy (a mug or frying pan) on top and set aside for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the marinade ingredients to a large bowl and stir.
- When the tofu is pressed, cut it into bite-sized pieces and add it to the bowl, tossing well to coat it in the marinade. Set aside for 10 minutes.
- If serving with rice, cook it now.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok over a medium heat, then add the tofu (reserve any marinade left in the bowl) and cook until it turns golden (about 4 minutes), then flip and cook the other side for a few minutes. Add the leftover marinade to the wok with the cooked tofu and heat through. Transfer the tofu and sauce to a plate and set aside.
- Add the Chinese greens and bean sprouts to the wok and stir fry for a minute or two until wilted.
- Serve with the rice and tofu, sprinkled with the scallions, chilli and sesame seeds.