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Crispy Tofu in 5-Spice Sauce

Slofoodgroup Team June 16, 2021

Crispy Cubes of Tofu Slathered in Fragrant Five-Spice Sauce

Five-spice is a traditional Chinese spice blend that typically combines cinnamon, cloves, fennel seeds, star anise ,and Sichuan pepper. The latter can also be substituted for black peppercorns and the proportions of each ingredient can vary from region-to-region. The uses for 5-spice seasoning blends are endless, but we love making it the feature of an asian-inspired sauce and slathering it on baked or fried tofu. 

In Chinese culture, the number five corresponds to the five basic elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood that get transposed into cooking. The origins of this spice mix is believed to have originated in the Chinese medicine, as it stimulates every organ in the body. The spice mix can be altered to adjust to one’s taste, but we found that this combo is balanced to match the tofu well.

Homemade 5-spice blend, transformed into a sauce to serve with tofu

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15‘

Cooking Time: 15’

Additional Time: 0’ 


For the 5-spice mix:

For the sauce:

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • ½ tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp 5 spice mix
  • 1-2 tsp sesame seeds

 For the crispy tofu:

  • 2 blocks firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • Finely cut spring onions and chilli, to garnish


  • Grind all the ingredients for the 5-spice mix until finely coarse;
  • Pat dry the tofu and cut into bite size cubes; coat the tofu in cornstarch and gently fry in sesame oil over medium - low heat until golden brown; remove on a paper towel and set aside;
  • To a bowl, mix all the sauce ingredients and stir well; add the sauce on the same frying pan where the tofu got cooked and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened; 
  • Bring the tofu back to the pan and coat well in sauce;
  • Garnish with spring onions and chilli and serve over rice or in lettuce wraps.

  • Slofoodgroup