Recipes > Indonesian Tofu

Indonesian Tofu


Enjoy the exotic flavors of this Indonesian barbeque sauce.
  • Serves: 3 to 4
  • Active Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Views: 62,957
  • Success Rating: 97% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Making the Marinade

Making the Marinade
  • 2 small serrano peppers (or 2 medium jalapeños)
  • 6 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 1 medium onion
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 tbsp molasses
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups soy sauce*


To start the marinade, de-seed the peppers and give them a rough chop. Purée them briefly in a food processor. Next, peel the ginger, onion, garlic and roughly chop them. Add them to the processor and purée until quite fine.

Next, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook until the onions start to release their juices, about a minute or two. Then turn the heat to medium low and mix in the olive oil, honey, molasses and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar has almost completely dissolved. Add the soya sauce and bring to a quick boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Once done, allow the marinade to cool completely before using it.

*Note: Some brands and types of soya sauce can be quite salty, so be sure to taste it first. If the soya sauce seems overly salty, you can substitute one cup of soya sauce for one cup of water.

Step 2: Marinating the Tofu

Marinating the Tofu
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu


To prepare the tofu, cut it into about 1" -inch thick slices. Place the tofu into a shallow dish and then add the marinade. Use just enough marinade to ensure the pieces are well coated. Note: Any remaining marinade can be refrigerated and saved for another use.

Cover the dish and refrigerate for about 2 to 3 hours. Flip the tofu at least once as it marinates.

Step 3: Cooking the Tofu

Cooking the Tofu
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed (or oil of choice)


To cook the tofu, first heat a fry pan over medium heat. Once properly heated, add the oil. Add the tofu and let cook on the first side until it starts to caramelize. Flip the tofu and continue to cook on the other side.

Once the tofu has caramelized nicely on both sides, transfer it to a plate and set aside. Add a bit of the marinade to the pan and let it cook for a few minutes just to heat it through.

To serve the tofu, place it onto a plate and spoon some of the hot marinade over top. Serve with a salad or side of your choice.

Chef's Notes

This is a fantastic and easy marinade that adds a big punch of flavor to tofu, chicken or even fish. Garlic, ginger, soy sauce are the main ingredients in this versatile sauce.

Any un-used marinade will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks.

For firmer tofu, press it before marinating.


  • Reggie  R
    Reggie R
    I've made various tofu dishes before but this was some of the best. The marinade was delicious.. If you like your food spicy I'd recommend putting in both (whole) serrano peppers as it tends to mellow out during the simmering time. I cant wait to use this with beef or chicken. You will have plenty of marinade leftover. Thanks again Rouxbe!
  • Saejean O
    Saejean O
    Does anyone know how long the marinade lasts for re-marinating?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Leftover marinade will keep for quite some time. I have had some in the fridge for weeks before and it was perfectly fine. That is why this recipe makes more than enough because leftover keep so well. That and the fact that the marinade goes well with almost any protein. Enjoy!!!
  • Liz S
    Liz S
    This tofu is a great vegetarian dish - we really enjoyed it although I did marinate some chicken as well . Not only that , my 1 and 3 year old grandsons polished off the cold left over tofu the next day and were asking for more. Because I was using the light Chinese soy sauce, I took the suggestion to replace 1 cup with water. I was glad I did as the marinade was perfect. I am happy to have so much marinade left ( I froze it) - it will be a super easy lunch or dinner next time.
  • Judi G
    Judi G
    I made this the other night for dinner and had the leftovers, as suggested, for lunch the next day. It's wonderful. I threw some toasted sesame seeds on the slices and that was perfect. A great way to make enough marinade to last a long time and I will give it a try on chicken and beef this weekend. Another winner and something I can share with my veggie kids.
  • Cody H
    Cody H
    Great recipe, hoping for more Vegetarian dishes in the future?
  • Mimi joan F
    Mimi joan F
    I have been looking for good tofu recipies that are light and easy. This sounds like a winner. I like the idea of serving it with a simple fresh salad. Some rice could be served as a side dish to make it a bit more substantial.
  • Tammy B
    Tammy B
    Is their an option to email (myself) this recipe?
  • Joe G
    Joe G
    Hi Tammy, just copy and paste the URL for this address (URL is the web address). Here it is: That's it. I just sent it to you btw... Cheers, Joe.
  • Tammy B
    Tammy B
    Thanks Joe!
  • Joel A
    Joel A
    I've tried making a lot of different tofu dishes but this is the first one (besides desserts) that had enough flavor to cover the base flavor of tofu, which I don't really care for. The marinade is amazing. One suggestion: pressing the tofu for about an hour before marinating allows more marinade to infuse the tofu.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Glad you enjoyed the tofu Joel. As for pressing it prior to marinating it, it does depend on the tofu. Really firm tofu generally does not need this added step as it is not very wet to begin with. Cheers!
  • Joel A
    Joel A
    I will give that a try next time. Maybe I'll get some more volume if I don't press it. Thanks.
  • Echo S
    Echo S
    I don't have any molasses at hand, but i do have some molasses powdered sugar, can i just use them instead? also, if i leave out brown sugar and substitute with white granulated sugar or molasses sugar will the flavoring be completely off? thanks!
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    White sugar does not have the flavor that brown sugar has, so yes, it will taste different. Try experimenting with your molasses powder and molasses sugar or use another substitute. Taste both to get an idea of how much you want to add (maybe it's a combination of molasses powder, molasses sugar and white sugar depending on how strong they are). You just have to get in there and give it a try. As mentioned before, this site offers many good options for food substitutes. Cheers!
  • Ylena V
    Ylena V
    Did anybody try baking this tofu, instead of frying? I would like to give it a try, unless somebody tried it already and says it is not nearly as good as frying it :) Thank you
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    You can certainly bake tofu. You may not achieve the same texture and color, but it will still be good. Just be sure to put it on a lined baking sheet so it doesn't stick. Cheers!
  • Jacinth A
    Jacinth A
    hi, what if i'll marinate the tofu overnight? would that change the texture of the tofu or will it have bad result?
  • Lauren L
    Lauren L
    Hi Jacinth. I appreciate your engagement in the Rouxbe community. You can definitely marinate the tofu overnight. You might dial back the soy sauce and add a bit of water in order to prevent an overly salty dish. Taste the marinade and adjust as you see fit. Lauren
  • Wendy T
    Wendy T
    Is it possible to use sweet (Indonesian) soy sauce (kecap) instead and omit the brown sugar?
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Hi Wendy, Yes, you can make the substitution though you may need to adjust the regular soy along with the honey and molasses. Give it a try, tasting and adjusting until you get your desired flavor profile, prior to adding to the tofu. Good luck and let us know how it goes! Cheers, Sandy
  • Michelle P
    Michelle P
    Hi for the measurements I always use European measures, I tried to ‘convert’ the cups into grams, but it looks like 3 cups = 700ml of soy sauce and 1 cup of brown sugar = 200 grams, this sounds like a lot! Is this the correct conversion? Thanks!
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Hi Michelle, Yes, that looks about right. Keep in mind, this is a marinade to give flavor to the tofu, but not all will be consumed. Enjoy. Cheers, Sandy

Leave A Comment

Please login or join the Rouxbe community to leave a comment.