Spicy Tofu Steaks

Serves 4

| Prep Time: 10 mins

| Cook Time: 10 mins

| Total Time: 25 mins

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

Fragrant, powerful, and delicious. The aroma of these Spicy Tofu Steaks transports you to Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi Province and one of China's oldest cities that is best known as the home of the terra cotta army. The city of Xi'an lays at the eastern terminus of the ancient trading route known as the 'Silk Road', which connected Asia to the Middle East and Europe and delivered exotic goods and foods to all corners.

For over a thousand years, traders from the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia traversed the Silk Road. Their influence is still felt in pockets like the 'Muslim Quarter' in Xi'an, dating from the 7th Century, where Arab-influenced cuisine is served. This dish captures the essence of the early fusion of Chinese and Arab cuisine and is typical of flavors you will find today all over Northwest China. Our Silk Road spice blend uses whole and ground cumin seed for a distinctive, nutty flavor. We combine spicy heat from cayenne pepper with the lemony tingle of Sichuan Pepper to create a warm, penetrating aroma that will fill your kitchen when cooking. Try this blend on lamb chops or beef if you prefer a meat dish.



Tofu most often comes in a "block" in the supermarket. For best results, purchase Extra Firm or Firm Tofu. To achieve a crispy texture, take time to dry the tofu by draining the liquid it comes in and resting the tofu on a paper towel lined plate for 15 mins. Squeeze out excess moistures by gently pressing down on the tofu with extra paper towels. Flip and repeat.

Make a little extra sauce and use it as the sauce to stir-fry some veggies like baby Bok Choy, mushrooms, or broccoli.

Canola oil is preferred since it has a higher smoke point than many oils. If you only have olive oil, instead heat the pan on Med or max, Med-High and watch it carefully so as not to smoke up your kitchen.

Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don't sweat it if you don't have them.


Drain tofu and place on a paper-towel lined plate. Using more paper towels, gently press some of the moisture out of the block. Cut tofu into finger-width (~3/4") "steaks" or slabs and season with salt and pepper. Chop the scallion and cilantro.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil on Med-High in a large skillet or non-stick pan. While the pan is heating up, add 1 tsp of oil, soy sauce, and Hoisin sauce to a bowl and whisk together. Apply half the sauce to one side of the tofu steaks using a food brush (or spoon) then sprinkle ~2 tsp of Silk Road spice on this side of tofu.

When the oil is shimmering, add the tofu steaks in a single layer to the skillet (sauce side down) and cook for 4 mins or until crispy and golden. Brush sauce then sprinkle ~2 tsp of Silk Road spice on the top sides.

Flip tofu and cook another 4 mins. Remove from heat. Sprinkle cilantro and scallion over steaks and serve.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • Meat lovers should try the Silk Road spice blend on grilled or pan-seared/braised lamb chops for an authentic taste. Cumin and lamb are a naturally delicious flavor pairing.

  • Try Silk Road spice blend on lamb kebabs (skewers). In China, lamb kebabs are often served as street food, marinated in a spicy cumin sauce before grilled. 

  • If you don't feel like Spicy Tofu Steaks, try adding the Silk Road spice blend to chili, soups, stews or even ground beef/lamb tacos for a truly global fusion meal.

  • Don’t forget to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

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