If you’re in the mood for an easy weeknight dinner, this sticky panfried garlic lime tofu is for you! This tofu is a great dish if you’ve been on a tofu kick recently like me! This tofu is marinated to perfection, panfried, and then coated in a thick, sticky, sweet yet savory, garlic lime sauce.
what you’ll need
This sticky garlic tofu is vegan and vegetarian friendly but will be a favorite among omnivores as well! It’s full of salty, sweet, and spicy flavors that are inspired by Asian-American cuisine. This tofu is also gluten-free which is always a plus!
the garlic lime sauce
This recipe is great because you only need to make one mixture for the tofu marinade and the sauce. To make the garlic tofu marinade and sauce you only need a few easy-to-find ingredients. They are:
how to make the garlic lime tofu
This tofu comes together in a few easy steps. Like most tofu dishes, it’s important to marinate the tofu for enough time. Tofu is like a sponge. It absorbs the flavor you put on it and the longer it sits in the marinade the better it will taste! I recommend marinating the tofu for at least 20 minutes before pan-frying it.
Below are the main steps to making this easy vegan dinner!
- Marinate the tofu.
- Mix the ingredients (except the cornstarch) for the garlic-lime sauce together in a small pot.
- Simmer the garlic lime sauce for 20 minutes to thicken.
- Pan-fry the tofu until crispy and golden on all sides.
- Toss the panfried tofu in the thickened garlic lime sauce.
tofu cooking methods
In this recipe, I’m pan-frying the tofu since it is the fastest method. The key to pan-frying the tofu is to be sure your pan is hot enough and to be patient. You’ll want each side of the tofu to get golden brown before flipping it.
This tofu can also be made by air frying. I recommend air frying it at 400F for about 10-15 minutes, making sure to flip it halfway through. Once you air fry the tofu, transfer it to a non-stick skillet or wok to coat it in the garlic lime sauce.
This tofu can also be made by baking but it takes more time. I recommend baking it at 425F for about 25 minutes, making sure to flip it halfway through. Once you bake the tofu, transfer it to a non-stick skillet or wok to coat it in the garlic lime sauce.
If you’d like super crispy tofu, you can also deep fry it! Heat a few inches of vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat (about 375F if using a thermometer). Fry the tofu in batches to help keep the oil temperature from dropping. It should take about 4 minutes to fry the tofu until it is golden brown.
tips & tricks
The cornstarch is absolutely necessary for the garlic lime sauce. Without it, the sauce will not be thick.
To make this a garlic lime tofu stir fry, I recommend adding bell peppers, broccoli, edamame, or even cauliflower. You can serve this tofu alongside white rice (I prefer Jasmine) or with rice noodles.
Yes! This sticky panfried garlic lime tofu can also be made in the air fryer. I recommend air frying it at 400F for about 10-15 minutes, making sure to flip it halfway through. Once you air fry the tofu, transfer it to a non-stick skillet or wok to coat it in the sauce.
more tofu recipes to try
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Leave a rating and comment below!
Sauce & Marinade
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 lime, zest and juice
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp Sambal Oelek , or sub sriracha
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed & drained
- Vegetable oil
- Green Onion
To Make the Tofu:
- In a small bowl, mix all of the sauce ingredients together except for the cornstarch.
- Cut the block of tofu into ½” cubes.
- Pour half of the sauce onto the prepared tofu to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Set the other half aside.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok with 1-2 tsp of vegetable oil on medium heat. Once the pan has been heated add the marinated tofu and stir fry the cubes until golden brown on all sides. (Heat each side for about 1-2 minutes, then flip).
To Make the Garlic Lime Sauce & Marinade:
- While the tofu cooks, pour the other half of the sauce into a small saucepan. Pour any remaining marinade in as well. Simmer the sauce on low heat for 15 minutes.
- The sauce should reduce down in volume. Transfer 2 tbsp of the sauce to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch to form a slurry.
- Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce and heat for 1-2 more minutes. The sauce should thicken immediately. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Reduce the heat of the tofu to low and add the garlic lime sauce. Stir the tofu well until all the cubes are coated. The sauce will bubble up a lot if the pan is too hot. Continue to stir the tofu and sauce for 1 minute so the sauce caramelizes a bit. Remove from the heat and serve warm with green onions, cilantro, and rice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Total Fat: 7gProtein: 9g
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