Friday, April 6, 2012

Steamed Tofu with Spicy Black Bean Sauce

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I love the pungent and sharp flavor of fermented black bean sauce. Because of its aggressive and viscous properties, it tastes amazing doused over another component with a neutral flavor and texture—like steamed tofu. If you don't have a steamer, you can fill a large saucepan with a few inches of water and place a slightly curved bowl of tofu right into it. Simply cover and steam to create the perfect vehicle for a rich and spicy black bean sauce. This dish is healthy, delicious and incredibly easy to make.

One block of soft tofu
1 TB toasted sesame oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB fresh ginger, minced
3 scallions, chopped (separate the white and green parts)
2 TB mirin
2 TB fermented black bean sauce
1 TB sriracha
1 TB sesame seeds

Place the whole block of tofu directly into a steamer or onto a slightly curved bowl. Fill the bottom of a large saucepan with a few inches of water and place the steamer or dish into it and cover. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and steam for 15-20 minutes. Resist the urge to remove the lid to check on it.

While the tofu is steaming, make your sauce. Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the garlic, ginger and white part of the scallions and saute for a minute or two, stirring to ensure the garlic does not burn. Deglaze the pan with the mirin, reduce the heat to low, then add in the black bean sauce and sriracha.

When your tofu is done, remove it from the saucepan. Place it on a dishtowel to slightly drain for a few minutes. You can gently press on the top to get a little bit of the water out, but you want to tofu to still have some moisture in it.

Place the tofu onto serving plates, drizzling the sauce over the top and sprinkling with the green parts of the scallion and sesame seeds.


  1. Yum! Steamed tofu is the comfort food of my childhood. :-)

  2. i've always wanted to try ferments black bean sauce! i love the ingredients in the sauce you made with it and it looks delicious!

    i will have to try it overtop veggies and quinoa.

  3. Oh wow, that is quite the protein fix! ;)

    I'm now wondering: Is there a difference between black bean sauce and fermented black bean sauce? As the first one I've had and enjoyed but the latter I can't remember per se.

    If you don't have a steamer I'd recommend getting one of those bamboo kinds from Asian supermarkets: super cheap and I bought my first one years ago and am still using it. :)


  4. Tobias: fermenting black bean sauce gives it a rich, decadent umami flavor, so it is very different from regular black bean sauce. A little goes a long way!

  5. i read this post over the weekend and when we were at the asian market i grabbed a block of tofu.. i could not recall why i needed it but i knew i had to have it. opening my Reader, i now know why. i love fermented black bean sauce and the marriage of it with something as bland (not a bad thing in this case) as tofu is great.

  6. I made this tonight and really enjoyed it -- such wonderful flavours!

    It was my first time cooking with silken/soft tofu, and it was tricky to get it into the steamer in one piece. The end result didn't look as pretty as your picture, but the taste was marvellous!

    Thanks for the recipe!


  7. Erin, Thanks for making the tofu and for your feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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