Apr 5

Crispy Tofu Triangles with Asian Dipping Sauce from The Whole Family Cookbook

in Appetizers, Book Reviews, Eggs & Tofu, Health & Nutrition, Honey, Japanese, Sauces & Condiments, Side Dish

Crispy Tofu Triangles with Asian Dipping Sauce

In the Introduction of the recently released cookbook, The Whole Family Cookbook, the author Michelle Stern writes, “Parenting is a hefty responsibility.  It’s up to us to teach our children about good manners, how to stay safe, and how to grow up to be independent and confident adults.  It’s also important that we inspire our kids to make nutritious choices and be good stewards for the earth . . . Is it really that difficult to believe that kids can enjoy good food?  I don’t mean ‘good’ as in ‘indulgent.’  I mean good as in fresh, just-picked, seasonal, and sustainable.  I have a  lot of firsthand experience that suggests that children who are involved in selecting their food and then help in the kitchen are more likely to eat what they’ve created.”  This is what Michelle’s cookbook is all about—educating children about food, cooking with children, spending time together, and enjoying good food.  Michelle owns What’s Cooking With Kids, a certified green company that offers cooking classes for children in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She draws upon her experiences and shares a wealth of ideas, tricks, tips, and delicious recipes in her book.

The Whole Family Cookbook by Michelle Stern

Tips are sprinkled throughout the book, as well as suggestions for ways you can use a particular recipe for teaching a particular concept to your kids.  Also included is a great list of suggested tools you might consider adding to your kitchen for your children to use, and a humorous, yet helpful “Recipe For Cooking With Toddlers.”  We’ve already got a very long list of recipes we want to try, including Salty Pretzel Pillows and Summertime Kabobs with Udon Noodles.  The recipes we’ve tried already have been winners, so I am definitely looking forward to our adventures with this book.

I recently tried her recipe for Crispy Tofu Triangles with Asian Dipping Sauce.  I did most of the work with the tofu, since it involved a very large sharp knife and hot oil,

Frying the tofu triangles

but Bug chipped in to mix the dipping sauce.  She first spent several minutes just sniffing the aroma coming out of the bottle, which was divine.  Thank goodness for canning jars—I use them all the time when making sauces because I can just throw ingredients in, put the lid on and let my girls shake away!

Bug helping mix the dipping sauce

The tofu was a big hit with both my girls and my friend’s little boy who was also happened to be at our house for lunch.  But I’m not surprised.  I think finger foods tend to have a head start when it comes to popularity with the kid crowd.  And these crispy tofu triangles are like a healthier version of chips.  The dipping sauce was my favorite part about this dish—the flavor was absolutely out of this world!

Chowing on Crispy Tofu Triangles

If you have children, I hope you’ll consider purchasing your own copy of this fabulous book.  Not only is Michelle talented and wise beyond her years in what she does, but she’s one of the sweetest people out there.  You can see a sneak peek of the book, the amazing Michelle, and her beautiful family in a beautiful video put together by Todd and Diane of White On Rice Couple.  For more food and family wisdom, you can follow Michelle on her website, What’s Cooking With Kids, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Dipping Tofu Triangles

Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

Crispy Tofu Triangles with Asian Dipping Sauce

Recipe from The Whole Family Cookbook, by Michelle Stern

Makes 4 to 6 servings

For the Crispy Tofu:
2 packages extra-firm tofu, preferably organic
3 tablespoons canola oil

For the Asian Dipping Sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey, agave nectar, or brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic
Fresh chives, to taste
Chile oil, an optional addition to the sauce

1. Prepare the Crispy Tofu: Open and drain the pacakages of tofu and cut tofu into slices approximately 1/3-inch thick. Cut the slices diagonally into triangles.

2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a clean dish towel. Place the tofu triangles onto the towel in a single layer. Place another towel over the top of the tofu slices and then top with another baking sheet. Put something heavy on the top baking sheet, so that it presses down evenly on the tofu slices inside (like a tofu sandwich in between baking-sheet pieces of “bread”!). Allow the tofu to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will press the extra liquid out of the tofu and allow it to get crispy in the pan when cooked.

3. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of canola oil. When the oil starts to shimmer, carefully place the tofu triangles into the pan. Cook the tofu approximately 2 1/2 — 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the skillet and drain on a plate lined with a clean dish towel, a brown paper bag, or paper towels. Pat the tops of the tofu slices to absorb the oil as well.

4. Prepare the Asian Dipping Sauce: Measure the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey (or agave nectar/brown sugar), and rice vinegar, and pour into a small bowl. Stir to mix all of the ingredients together. Peel the paper skin off the garlic, Use a garlic press to mash the garlic, and add it to the sauce. Use clean scissors to snip chives into the sauce, for color and a wonderful mild onion flavor.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber April 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Oh boy, I have to make these right away! I love tofu served this way!! I’ll also have to take a look at this book next time I’m out. Thanks!


Lyndsey April 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I totally agree,… you can get kids to eat good ” healthy” foods, and enjoy it. I think a big issue with families are many parents are not willing to try them and don’t introduce the foods to kids. the other day I just posted… Crispy Tofu on Udon Noodles and my daughter and her friend ate a whole plate of the tofu and it never made it on the noodles; I didn’t even get a chance to make a dipping sauce before it was all gone. It was her friends first time eating tofu, (and she’s 16), and she loved it. I think this book would make a great gift for young families! I am going to make this sauce for next time! I love using mason jars too, they are good for storing all my different grains and rices too.

Your girls are always so adorable! Love them to pieces! :D


EatLiveRun April 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Yes! I have all these ingredients and now know exactly what to do with the lone tofu in the back of my fridge… :)


Heather (Heather's Dish) April 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I so wish I liked tofu! It’s just something about the texture, even crispy, that I don’t love. Weird, right?!


chefpandita April 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm

My grandma used to fry thick triangles of tofu and used them in nimono. I remember I the tofu and kombu knots were my favorites :)

Your kids are ADORABLE, Rachael! xoxo


Paula - bell'alimento April 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I have got to pick up a copy of that book, and make this recipe! Lurve it!


Michelle (What's Cooking with Kids) April 5, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Boy, oh boy – it touched me so deeply to see this lovely post about my new book. And the photos of the kids. Sigh. That’s all I can say. LOVE it, Rachael. xoxoxoxo Michelle


She's Cookin' April 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Not just for kids…I love how crispy these tofu triangles are! Michelle is doing great things in the Bay area – been following her for awhile. Little Bug is absolutely adorable!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Lovely tofu, Rachael!

I am a big ‘fu lover myself. I’ve got a 4 year old who loves tofu, too. I love seeing people serve their kids REAL food that they will eat too, not just hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches. My 4 year old eats everything from tofu to raw broccoli to curried lentils. Thank you for the great post!


Rachel Rose April 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Mmm, this look delicious! I love tofu. Thanks for the tips and recommendation.


Liz - Meal Makeover Mom April 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I received a review copy of Michelle’s book today, and I can’t wait to cook my first recipe. The photos are beautiful and each recipe looks more delicious than the next. Michelle has a great food philosophy, and I wish her the best of luck with her new book :)
My kids would never admit they “love” tofu, but they always eat it happily.


Jun April 6, 2011 at 5:40 am

I love tofu! We all love tofu!


blogbytina! April 6, 2011 at 11:51 am

that cookbook looks great! I am loving the tofu idea. fingerfoods are just SO much more fun!


lejarie April 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Darn…darn…I just ran out of tofu this morning but this will be on the menu for next week!


Cathy/ShowFoodChef April 6, 2011 at 3:39 pm

You always explain it so well and the pics are fabulous and make me want to eat it right now! I may be fixing these for “the kid” (aka – ME) for lunch!


The Newlywed Chefs April 6, 2011 at 4:12 pm

This looks like an awesome book! Thanks for posting!


Mrs. Jen B April 6, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Fabulous – love fried tofu, and I can practically smell that sauce! Mmmmm…


a frog in the cottage April 7, 2011 at 8:04 am

I surely must try these !!!!


Fête Foreign April 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm

I made these yesterday! Alas, nobody except me liked them. . . Yay! more for me. I will be making these again as I love tofu and these were delicious!


Callie April 28, 2011 at 11:15 am

These look great! I can’t wait to try them! Thanks for the post!


Sophia Aiken July 11, 2011 at 8:05 am

The reason why more people dont introduce things like tofu, is a few good reasons:
1 – i came from the country in PA, i never heard of Tofu until i moved to Florida in 1990. Which means i didnt come across it even in a grocery Store.
2 – Quite a few times, when people have tried Tofu, it was not cooked right. You cannot convert a meat eater, when the one introducing didnt cook it right.
3 – i have personally tried Organic Non-Dairy Cheese, Tofu Lunchmeat, Gluten-Free Bread, due to i had a bleeding stomach, and was tryign to change my ways. i tried Soy and Rice milks, Yuck! The food costs twice as much, and does not have the flavor or regular foods. it was a very bad experience, one i dont care to do again for any reason.
4 – Expiration Dates – Every store i have ever seen Polenta or Tofu at, it does not sell well at all, and its always at or past the expiration dates on the shelf. I expect my other foods to be fresh, and i expect this to be as fresh or better, especially if i am expected to make a life change.

In short, the younger you are exposed to these foods the better, because all it takes is one bad tasting dish to come across a meat lovers plate, and all your efforts are for not. My husband loves Vegtables, but will go out and kill and animal and cook it up himself, to have his meat. Me, i dont eat that much meat, but have been exposed dishes that tase bad fresh from the store, People who dont cook their food properly, no taste or just wrong tasting vegan foods. Id ont tell anyone they cant have them, but for my family, its not going to happen. This wasnt to be mean, it was inr esponse to the one who couldnt understand why more people dont eat tofu, polenta, and other vegan/vegetarian meals as staples.


Mallory July 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Yum! Just made these for dinner today along with some shelled edamame – they are a winner! Next time I make it I’ll probably add an extra garlic clove (I loooove garlic) and something spicy (I didn’t have the chili oil this time around).

I threw a healthy splash of the extra sauce with the leftover edamame (there was no left-over tofu!) – should be a lovely lunch addition for tomorrow.


Liz July 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm

These were a hit! Hubby and I both loved them, as did our 3 kids (an almost-4-year-old and two 2 1/2-year-olds)


Anna April 22, 2013 at 5:50 am

You call this recipe healthy? I am sure it tastes very good with all that fat in it. 3TBSP of Canola oil? how about 2 tsp of Olive oil or better yet, how about broiling it? and the sesame oil adds a lovely taste but a full tbsp? I am sorry but I am so tired of people declaring a recipe healthy simply because it has tofu in it and maybe a token vegetable or two. When you look closely at the ingredients though most are loaded with fat (and the wrong kind of fat to boot). How about calling this an alternative to meat recipe but in no way could it be considered “healthy.” Sorry if this disagrees with the common theme here but those are my feelings on the matter.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) April 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm

@Anna — The recipe could certainly be adjusted to be healthier, as you have pointed out. I think the author was trying to be honest to the origins of the recipe inspiration, and olive oil would never be used in a traditional Asian recipe. The focus of the book is on inspiring families to get back into the kitchen and use whole ingredients, which it definitely does.


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