Chinese Five Spice Braised Tofu

GFGluten FreeOFOil FreeSFRefined Sugar FreeVVegan

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This Chinese Five Spice Braised Tofu is made with only 5 simple ingredients, but brings BIG flavor! Serve it with sushi, grain bowls, summer rolls, and more.

Ah, tofu. Some people love it, some people…don’t. I’m definitely in the former category here, and unless you’re avoiding soy for allergy reasons (and not false health claims), I think you should be too.

The best thing about tofu, besides that it’s a great source of plant protein? It’s a blank vessel. Which means you can infuse it with just about any flavor that you’d like! Today we’re going the asian-inspired route with some Chinese Five-Spice Braised Tofu.

sliced braised tofu on marble cutting board

Most of the time I buy plain ol’ Extra Firm Tofu from the store and season it myself, but every once in a while I buy one of those pre-flavored packs – you know, for convenience. I came across a particular “Braised Tofu” in my store a little over a year ago, and have been hooked ever since! Once I looked at the package ingredients and realized how simple they were, I knew I had to try to recreate it myself.

This Braised Tofu has simple steps, but definitely delivers big flavor. All you need is one pan and 5 ingredients to make it!

So, shall we?

ingredients for braised tofu on marble cutting board

Step One: Press & Cut Your Tofu

cut tofu blocks on round marble cutting board

You’ll need one block of either Extra Firm or Super Firm tofu for this recipe. If you’re using Extra Firm (left), you’ll need to press your tofu for about 30 minutes or so to get all of the extra liquid out. Super Firm or “High Protein” tofu (right) is pre-pressed, so if you get that you can skip this step (Yay!)

Regardless, you’ll want to create 4 even blocks of tofu for this recipe – I like to cut each block in half lengthwise, and then in half again once more.

Step Two: Marinate

tofu in large grey pot covered in marinade

To”braise” a food means to fry it, then simmer in sauce in a closed container. Today we’re skipping the frying aspect – mostly because my beloved store-bought tofu wasn’t fried either. Don’t worry though, we’ll still be simmering our tofu in a mouth-watering marinade that’s surprisingly simple!

Simply combine some Vegetable Broth, Tamari, Coconut Sugar, and Chinese Five Spice blend together in the bottom of a large, oven-safe pot. Carefully place the tofu in the marinade, then cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

Step Three: Simmer

darkened braised tofu after simmering in large metal pot

Now we’ll pop that pot onto the stove and bring our tofu + marinade to a simmer, while covered. You’ll want to flip the tofu every five minutes so each side cooks evenly – I’d recommend using a firm spatula or some kitchen tongs to do this. If you don’t have much room in your pot, remove one piece of tofu while flipping the other three for an easier time 😉

While your tofu simmers, pre-heat your oven to 350F. We’re going to use almost every last drop of the marinade, and the final step of flavor infusion takes place in the oven.

Step Four: Bake

braised tofu in metal pot after baking

Okay, so I know what you’re thinking. You already simmered and marinated the tofu, so do you actually have to cook it in the oven now too?

Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Yes, because this last step in the oven is the key to ultimate flavor infusion! The tofu will absorb even more of the sweet/salty/savory/totally yummy marinade, and it will get nicely browned and slightly crispy on top. And who doesn’t love some good Crispy Tofu?!

It only takes about 15-20 minutes, and I promise – you’ll be thanking me in the next step, which is…

Enjoy!

braised tofu on white plate topped with green onion and sesame seeds

Make a plate (or bowl), sit back, and relax! Your Braised Tofu is ready to eat (or in my house, devoured). As this process is a little time consuming, I like to double or triple the recipe so I can have leftovers. They’ll keep in your fridge for up to one week, or you can freeze the tofu for up to two months. Pro-Tip: if you have any leftover marinade, save it and use as a yummy sauce!

Ways to Serve Braised Tofu:

  • In Sushi Rolls (or Bowls!)
  • In Buddha Bowls or Grain Bowls
  • Inside of these Summer Rolls
  • …or over plain ol’ rice! It’s just as delicious 😉

If you’re looking for more Asian-inspired recipes, you’ll also love this Crunchy Asian Slaw, this Vegan Miso Soup, and these Orange Tofu Buddha Bowls!

This Chinese Five Spice Braised Tofu is made with only 5 simple ingredients, but brings BIG flavor! Serve it with sushi, grain bowls, summer rolls, and more. #tofu #braisedtofu #fivespice #chinesetofu #tofurecipes | frommybowl.com

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

Print

Chinese Five Spice Braised Tofu

This Chinese Five Spice Braised Tofu is made with only 5 simple ingredients, but brings BIG flavor! Serve it with sushi, grain bowls, summer rolls, and more.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Press your tofu* to remove any extra moisture. Cut the block of tofu in half lengthwise, then cut each piece in half again to form four even blocks.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, water, tamari, coconut sugar, and five spice to the base of a large, oven-safe pot or sauté pan and whisk until combined. Place the tofu in the pan, then cover and let marinate for 30 minutes, flipping the tofu halfway through.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bring the pot of marinating tofu to a simmer, then cook covered for 20 minutes on medium-low heat. Use tongs or a spatula to flip the tofu every 5 minutes, to ensure even cooking.
  4. Place the pan into the oven and bake on the top-most rack for 10 minutes, then flip the tofu and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid has evaporated from the pan. If you do not have an oven-safe pot or pan (all metal), transfer the tofu to an oven-safe dish and follow the same process.
  5. Let the tofu cool for at least 10 minutes, then slice and serve as desired. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to one week, or the freezer for up to two months.

Notes

  • Extra-Firm tofu needs to be pressed, as it comes packaged in water. Super Firm (also called High Protein) tofu is pre-pressed and isn’t sealed with any extra liquid, so you can skip this step if you purchase that! It’s usually a little more expensive, but I find that it’s well-worth the saved time
  • Coconut Sugar can be replaced with equal parts of another dry sweetener (like brown sugar) or liquid sweetener (like maple syrup)

Keywords: vegan tofu recipes, chinese tofu recipes, braised tofu, five spice tofu, tofu marinade

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

    1. In terms of flavor, tamari is similar in flavor to coconut aminos so you can substitute is in a 1:1 ratio

  1. I made this to put in spring rolls. They are good. They were very time intensive. I get that you need the marinate, simmer and bake. What about just marinate, simmer and airflry? The liquid never baked down much so I had tons left.

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe out! And you have to cook it in the oven. As mentioned, this last step in the oven is the key to ultimate flavor infusion! The tofu will absorb even more of the marinade, and it will get nicely browned and slightly crispy on top. If you have leftover marinade you can reduce it on its own and use as a sauce!

  2. Hi Kate one haven’t tried this recipe yet but it looks 👀 fantastic do you think you could just recipe would work just as well with a different spice or could you give us a recipe for homemade five spice😁✌️

    1. I think it should still work! It may have some pieces that fall off, since it’s not extra firm. Just be careful when pressing so you don’t accidentally make it crumbly.

  3. This recipe is so simple yet so good! The taste is just as good as packaged five spice tofu. After the first time I made the recipe, I have simplified it a bit. Since the tofu doesn’t really absorb much if any marinade I don’t bother waiting 30 minutes. And I don’t flip it over except for maybe one time halfway through the oven step. Even if some of the pieces are not fully submerged this works fine. I have also occasionally skipped simmering on the stove and put it straight into the oven with a longer cook time. Finally, since the result is tofu with a thin layer of five spice on the outside, I now cut it into cubes to expose more surface area to that delicious flavor! This is my favorite way to eat super firm tofu!

  4. Seriously obsessed with the flavor profile of this braised tofu! I have made it into slabs, cubes, and crumbles and have used it for stir fry, rice bowls, tacos, salads, wraps, tacos, and just snacking. Awesome job, thank you!!

  5. So tasty. My son isn’t a fan of salad rolls, so I prepared extra rice noodles and added the tofu to make a bowl. Added fresh veg from the salad rolls to it. He loved it.

  6. I tried to click on your summer rolls link above but it’s not a live link. I tried to search summer rolls but nothing came up. Can you help me find it? Thanks so much!