Main courses

Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu

Bento box meal prep idea

  • 45 minutes
  • easy
  • serves 4

Bentō is a popular style of box lunch in Japanese cuisine whereby dishes are portioned into several separate compartments. Both the compartments and the dishes therein are called “Bentō” or “Bentō box.” Crispy tofu with sweet and sour sauce is our main dish. The others are suggestions for sides.

To make crispy tofu:
Slice each 200 g block of tofu evenly in half between the front and back sides.
Lay the halves in two rows on a clean tea towel. Cover with a second (possibly folded) tea towel and press the tofu by hand.
Then slice each piece in half and cut each half diagonally to make four triangles (16 triangles in total). Combine cornflour, sesame seeds and salt in a bowl. Roll each tofu triangle in the mixture to coat. Fry them in oil (with a dash of sesame oil if desired) at a medium to high temperature until crispy all over. For best results, fry longer at a lower temperature.

To make sweet and sour sauce:
Blend tomato paste, miso paste, water, soy sauce, agave syrup (or maple syrup), sambal oelek and chilli powder, then heat through.
In the meantime, juice the lime and finely mince the garlic and ginger. Sauté the garlic and ginger in a little oil until golden brown.

Add the other ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover with a lid and continue cooking to reduce the liquid for 1–2 minutes. Season to taste with lime juice.

Arrange the crispy tofu and rice in a Bento bowl along with the accompaniments and drizzle the sauce on top.

If you can find Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru) or chilli paste (gochujang), go ahead and use these.
If using gochugaru: Replace sambal oelek and chilli powder with 10 g of gochugaru.
If using gochujang: Replace miso paste, sambal oelek and chilli powder with 1.5 tbsp of gochujang.


Tofu natur


For crispy Korean-style tofu:
400 g Tofu natur
150 g cornflour (or rice flour  ̶  more nutritious)
20 g sesame seeds
1 tsp salt
Cooking oil & toasted sesame oil (optional)
For sweet and sour sauce:
70 g tomato paste
50 g light miso paste
120 ml water
60 ml soy sauce
40 g agave syrup or maple syrup
1 tbsp sambal oelek
1 pinch chilli powder
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
Possible combinations:
300 g round rice,  sushi rice or millet
800 g seasonal vegetables, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces; can be steamed or baked
200 g kimchi
400 g cucumber (or kohlrabi), finely grated and marinated in a little soy sauce with sesame seeds, chilli flakes and a pinch salt
200 g sour cream