Crispy Mongolian Tofu

This Crispy Mongolian Tofu dish is inspired by the ubiquitous Mongolian Beef, commonly served at Chinese-American restaurants. These pieces of tofu are shallow-fried to a crispy golden-brown and coated with a familiar savory and sweet sauce.

They go so perfectly with freshly steamed rice — I easily finished two bowls and was left wanting more. Traditionally, the Mongolian-style sauce is not a spicy one, but I found that dried chilis gave it a pleasant little kick. Feel free to leave it out!


Crispy Mongolian Tofu

4 from 53 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: DinnerCuisine: Chinese, AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

2

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Crispy Mongolian Tofu inspired by “Mongolian Beef” commonly served at Chinese-American restaurants.

Ingredients

  • 1 block medium -firm tofu, frozen-and-thawed twice

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar (or light brown sugar)

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup room temperature water

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced

  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 1 scallion, segmented

  • 2 dried chilis, seeds removed & segmented

  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, for garnish

  • Thickening Agent
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  • Prepare the Tofu. For this recipe, we’re working with twice frozen-and-thawed tofu. As the name suggests, the tofu has been frozen, thawed, frozen again, and completely thawed again. Using a heavy object or a tofu press, press the tofu down for at least 15 minutes, pressing out as much liquid as possible. At the end of the pressing, the height of the tofu should have halved. Using your fingers, pull away chunks of the tofu (I tend to think about strips). You should get chunks that aren’t completely even and look naturally pulled. Carefully place the tofu pieces in a ziplock bag along with cornstarch. Shake the bag to evenly coat all the tofu pieces.
  • Fry the Tofu. In a wok/pan, heat up a generous amount of vegetable oil on medium-high heat (think about shallow-frying). Once the oil is hot, fry the tofu pieces until each side becomes golden-brown and crispy. Remove from the oil and drain on a kitchen towel to remove excess grease. Set aside.
  • Make the Sauce. Heat up a clean wok/pan on medium heat. Start the sauce by frying together the minced garlic, ginger, dried chilis, and brown sugar. Keep stirring and heating until the sugar is melted and caramelized, around 3-4 minutes. Deglaze the wok/pan with the soy sauce and water. The sugar is likely to harden and clump up, but just keep stirring until it dissolves again. Reduce this sauce for around 2 minutes and finish it with the thickening agent (cornstarch slurry). If the sauce wasn’t already boiling, bring it up to a light boil and it should thicken up nicely.
  • Finish the Dish. Remove the wok/pan from the heat and add the crispy tofu back into the sauce. Add the scallion segments as well. Stir to coat evenly. Finish with a sprinkle of white sesame seeds. Enjoy warm with rice.

Notes

  • When frying the tofu, make sure there is enough oil for shallow-frying. You might end up with parts of uncooked cornstarch (in the layers and crevices of the tofu) if there isn’t enough oil.
  • Fun Fact: This dish actually originated from Taiwan, and was popularized in the US by Chinese-American and Taiwanese-American restaurants.
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Mackenzie S
Mackenzie S
11 months ago

Tried this tonight. I over-fried mine so it was a smidge too crispy, but it tasted SO good that we will be having this again (and I’ll be sure to fry it correctly).

Josephine
Josephine
11 months ago

Tried this for the first time today – I’m so amazed at the texture that can be achieved with the tofu!! Great recipe, looking forward to making this again 🙂

Jace
Jace
8 months ago

Made this tonight for me and my family and absolutely loved it! Only had time to press the tofu for about an hour beforehand but turned out amazing regardless!! Thanks so much for this recipe!

Shelley
Shelley
8 months ago

This was amazing! Stepping into vegan waters and knowing I can not only tolerate tofu, but fall head over heels for it, is inspiring – because I hate tofu. A convert.

Katie
Katie
7 months ago

Could I put in about a teaspoon of garlic chili sauce instead of dried chili?

Megan
Megan
7 months ago

So good! Will be adding this to my regular meal rotation

Ashley
Ashley
7 months ago

Made for dinner tonight and was so delicious.

Kelly
Kelly
7 months ago

I’ve now made two of your recipes twice in like once week because once wasn’t enough lol soooo good, I can’t wait to keep trying more!

TaMarria Hudson
TaMarria Hudson
7 months ago

Hello,
This recipe is amazing. I added a few seasonings to the sugar like sage, turmeric and garlic chili sauce, which really gave it a burst of flavor. I served it over cold rice noodles and fell in love. Thank you so much for sharing this!

Emily Chun
Emily Chun
7 months ago

This was so wonderful! Thank you for this tasty recipe! Made it for dinner, and it was a hit 🙂

Melissa
Melissa
7 months ago

I just made this dish tonight for dinner and it was super tasty! It was my first time using the double thaw method but wow was it worth it! I highly recommend this dish and have already shared it with friends!

katie maudsley
katie maudsley
7 months ago

Wow!!!! Unbelievable texture and flavor. Can’t wait to make this for everyone I know. Thank you so much for all of your great vegan recipes.

Mrs G
Mrs G
7 months ago

made this tonight and it came out so good. I couldnt get ‘strips’ of tofu. they broke into various sized chunks. I used a mix of avocado oil and veggie oil for frying and added a small sprinkle of dried chili flakes. I may have to double the batch next time as i’d love to have leftovers. This recipe is a keeper!!

Lauren
Lauren
6 months ago

I need to tell you that this recipe is DELICIOUS and you are my hero.🥰

Nathalie
Nathalie
6 months ago

THIS IS SO GOOD OFF THE CHARTS BANANAS GOOD GOD BLESS
Me & whole family love it.
BOWS 🙏🌠

Nyra
Nyra
6 months ago

Wow George I made this tonight and it was so delicious. The double freeze method is a game changer, makes it the best tofu we’ve ever had. I served it with steamed broccoli and bok choy 🙂 Thanks for another great recipe!!

Sami
Sami
6 months ago

I just tried this today and I’m amazed at the tofu texture!! Next time I make this I’ll probably double the amount of dried chilies or maybe add chili oil on top but that’s just me being a spice addict. Thank you so much for this recipe!

Robin
Robin
5 months ago

This is my new favorite recipe! I’ve made it about once a week since we found it on tiktok. The twice frozen and thawed tofu is so good–thank you!! (My boyfriend says you’re a genius.)

David L
David L
5 months ago

I hate tofu, but this recipe made it taste as good if not better than meat. Getting tofu to be flavorful, crispy, and chewy instead of bland and soft has always been unattainable for me… This is going to be a staple. Thank you!

Trish
Trish
5 months ago

I made this the other night. It’s delicious and so quick and easy! Thank you!

Irena
Irena
5 months ago

mmmmmh so yummy 11/10 would recommend

Meredith
Meredith
5 months ago

Tried this last night and just had the leftovers for lunch. The results were SO satisfying! This recipe was easy to follow and execute. Delicious – thank you! 🙂

Raphaël de Courville
Raphaël de Courville
5 months ago

I’m eating it as I type this. Thank you!!! It’s incredible. I had no idea tofu could be that crunchy and the sauce is amazing too. I love it!

Brooke G.
Brooke G.
5 months ago

This is my favorite dish when I order takeout, so I was really excited to try it at home. The texture of the tofu turned out amazing and the sauce was easy and super flavorful! I will definitely double the recipe next time so I can have more leftovers. So good!

Victoria
Victoria
5 months ago

I just made this tonight and it was delicious!! This was my first time trying the double freeze method for tofu and it makes such a difference. I can’t wait to make this for friends!!

Nick
Nick
5 months ago

I made this for myself tonight but my family ate most of it lol. Really good and relatively quick (minus all the freezing and thawing). Thanks!

Samantha Gueli
Samantha Gueli
5 months ago

I love Mongolian beef, but I have never tried tofu. I have a fear of texture when it comes to food. I took a big step out of my comfort zone and tried this tonight for dinner. It was amazing. I’m going to try the three cup later this week. Thank you for this recipe and for inspiring me to try something new.

Caroline
Caroline
5 months ago

I made this last week and it was delicious. I’d love to meal prep this for lunches, but I’m unsure of how the tofu will hold up after being microwaved. Any recommendations?

Lucy T
Lucy T
5 months ago

I was absolutely blown away. Perfection. Thank you for teaching me.

Ishani
Ishani
4 months ago

This is one of my favorite recipes! So easy to make and it’s delicious! I make it all the time. Thank you for sharing it 🙂

Bilbo
Bilbo
4 months ago

10/10 recommend. The double freeze gave the tofu great texture and the sauces tasty. I used fresh jalapeños in place of the dried chilli because that’s what I had and it worked perfect.

Laila
4 months ago

Made this for the first time tonight with extra firm tofu, I found it a little too crispy. Do you think there needs to be alterations to the amount of corn starch used? Or stick with the medium firm tofu? Thank you! Everything else, the sauce came out amazing.

Celine Rameaux
Celine Rameaux
4 months ago

Soooooooooo tastyyy!!
Didnt have any sugar or maple syrup in the house last night so used about a teaspoon of black strap molasses instead, it worked!

Kaitlin
Kaitlin
4 months ago

Amazing!! Thank you for sharing

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Matt R
Matt R
3 months ago

Absolutely delicious – and so quick and simple to make! Definitely a new favourite, the double freeze/thaw trick makes a huge difference – no more soggy tofu. Thank you! 🙂

Ashley
Ashley
2 months ago

Hands down best recipe I’ve had in months. Thank you!!!

Jussara
Jussara
2 months ago

Great recipe! It made the tofu taste delicious! Congrats

Kiyomi M
Kiyomi M
2 months ago

This recipe is amazing!! Even our 7 year old loves this and actually requests it weekly- it’s hands down her favorite way to eat tofu. Amazing flavors and easy recipe to follow too. Thank you so much!

Sarah
Sarah
2 months ago

So good and so easy! I didn’t have dried chili’s but I always have gochugaru on hand so I subbed with that. Turned out amazing!

Jo-Anne Vandierendonck
Jo-Anne Vandierendonck
2 months ago

Second time in about 6 weeks I have made this recipe and I love it as much the second time as the first. I eat it with rice and cooked greens so find I get at least 3 large meals from it as it reheats well. Flavour, crunch and a quick, easy recipe make this dish a new favourite. This 66 year old gal now uses the technique of freezing and pressing tofu for many of my dishes. Thanks Chez Jorge.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jo-Anne Vandierendonck
Amber
Amber
1 month ago

Like some other folks, I over fried mine too. I used extra-firm tofu which might have contributed to the extra crispy results. Next time, I’ll be sure to follow directions and use a medium-firm tofu and try not to over fry it 🙂

C. Guarnieri
C. Guarnieri
1 month ago

This is FANTASTIC. Can’t stress enough how delicious this is. I’ve made it 5 times. Hand squeeze the tofu, and we quadruple it for 5 people. I used Sambal Oelek in place of dried chilis.
Thank you for creating this masterpiece!

T P
T P
1 month ago

AMAZING