Blackened Sesame Tofu: Riding a Bike

by simplylife on May 8, 2012

Two weeks ago I went for a bike ride outside.

I hadn’t done that in close to a year.  Riding a bike on cement is much different than using a stationary bike in spin class.

I was usually way too scared to ride on a main road so I wobbled my way down the sidewalk, smiling at people who had to step aside because I was too uncoordinated to be the one to swerve on the grass and ride over the tree roots when we passed.


And then there was the giant hill.  A runner passed me as I huffed and puffed my way to the top.  The runner kept going.  I had to stop and catch my breath.

I made it home in one piece and the next day my quads kept reminding me that I need to use them more.

The following week, I went out again.  I continued to wobble down the sidewalk.  I huffed and puffed up the hill.  I was sore the next day.  But, it was slightly easier, a little more predictable and I felt just a touch more comfortable.

Though it probably seems riding a bike and cooking tofu don’t have much in common, they both are skills that require a lot of practice for me to get remotely comfortable with.  While I’ll be the first to admit that going out of my comfort zone is not my favorite experience, I also know that each time I do, I learn a little more.

When I first started cooking tofu, I wasn’t sure what type to buy, how to cook it, or when to know when it’s ready.  I now know that I prefer extra-firm tofu, I like it sautéed, boiled and roasted, and leftover cooked tofu is one of my favorite salad toppings.

In the spirit of trying new things, I decided to prepare it a new way.  Covered in cornstarch before placing in the pan to saute, I quickly learned adds an extra layer of depth and texture to each piece.

Just like in most situations, I’m glad I tried something new. 🙂

Blackened Sesame Tofu

by Simply Life

Keywords: saute entree vegan vegetarian tofu

Ingredients (2 servings)

  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbs. sesame oil
  • Ginger, to taste
  • 8 oz. extra-firm tofu, cubed
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1/3 cup carrots, julienned
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbs. sesame seeds
  • 3 scallions, chopped


1. Mix together soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger. Heat large skillet to medium-high meat. Toss cubed tofu in shallow bowl with cornstarch. Shake off excess pieces and set aside. Heat half soy sauce mixture in skillet. Cook tofu, stirring frequently, until blackened and crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Remove and sediment from the pan. Add remaining soy sauce mixture to hot pan. Add shallots, pepper and carrots and cook until tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add tofu and toss together with red pepper flakes, sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with brown rice and enjoy!

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~When was the last time you went out of your comfort zone?

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  • Junia Kim

    i love tofu! but i prefer mine uncooked :). they are so good! i’ve seen ppl make smoothies, desserts, mousses, tofu scrambles, all sorts of things!

    • Simply Life

      Interesting and good to know- thanks! I haven’t tried it that way yet!

  • Bianca Garcia

    Tofu is one of my favorite things to eat (in fact I have a blog post about tofu scheduled for tomorrow). This sounds great!

  • Ranjani

    I love tofu when it is nice and crispy like this. These photos make this dish look so appetizing!

  • Colleen

    I’ve actually never made tofu… This looks GREAT!!

  • Rebecca

    I tried kale for the first time last week. That was out of my comfort zone, but worth the risk because I loved it!

    • Simply Life

      So good! How did you eat it? I find it has a HUGE difference in taste the way it’s prepared!

      • Rebecca

        I sauteed it with chicken, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, garlic, roasted red peppers, and seasoned with basil and oregeno. It was very good! I bought more this week to try raw.

        • Simply Life

          Oh that sounds GREAT!

  • Belinda

    Oops – you’re great for pushing yourself. I know what you mean by seeing runners pass you on a bike! Definitely have that happened before. What a great dish!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape

    I love tofu, but am so boring with how I make it. I pretty much just spritz with some cooking spray and broil it. This looks great, though!!

  • Hillary

    I actually did a workout today called the “Outside Your Comfort Zone” workout—so I guess that counts?!

    • Simply Life

      ooooh, that definitely counts!

  • Cookie Sleuth

    Yeast and tofu are two things I need to try to cook with that I am too afraid to do!

    • Simply Life

      Oh you should try them both! They’re not as scary as they seem, I promise!

  • Anu Shoj

    very inviting and impressive recipe dear..luv it!

  • Hilliary Wolfe

    I need to try this, looks delicious!

  • Colleen

    Great idea to coat the tofu with corn starch. I usually end up frying it in quite a bit of oil to get that crunch 🙂

  • Zoe

    Totally agree that tofu can be a tricky thing to cook but I can see that you nailed it very well with this dish.

  • Baking Serendipity

    I’m a sidewalk bike rider too. It’s safer there! I need to ease into the world of tofu next. It’s always been a food I’ve been a little afraid of…and I don’t even know why. It looks delicious here!

  • Jolene (

    That looks so much better than any tofu I’ve ever made! Yummmmm! I went out of my comfort zone very recently …

  • Caitlin Chock

    yum!!! that tofu does look amazing! oh man, yea, riding a bike outside vs. indoors always messes with my balance and i feel like a kindergartener out on the roads…lol.

  • Blackswan

    To tell the truth, I haven’t been on a bike. Too scared, I guessed. Hahaha! Mmmm…. love this style of cooking tofu. Perfect for a one-dish meal 🙂

  • Kari

    Riding outside is so very different to riding on a stationary bike – I absolutely relate. And this looks so incredibly delicious. I would like some for dinner right now!

  • Priya

    Wat a fantastic tofu, mindblowing.

  • Choc Chip Uru

    Incredible tofu dish which is just calling out my name – and sesame seeds? Please 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Amy B @ Second City Randomness

    I JUST had a conversation with a coworker yesterday about riding bikes. I don’t do it. I’m much more comfortable with my feet planted on the ground. Plus, with as crowded as the streets/trails are here, I’d surely kill someone. And that would just make me feel bad…. :p

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    Gorgeous photos! I actually just experimented with (and posted) a cornstarch tossed tofu recipe too. It’s such a great method.This dish looks incredible!

  • Beth Michelle

    Mmmm I do love tofu! This looks amazing. Your photos are so temptingly delicious!

  • Yummychunklet

    I’ve only recently started cooking with tofu. This looks delicious.

  • Mom

    What a fooler! Ooh, I said when I saw the picture and then I read and saw it was tofu! Okay, as you have realized years ago, I am open to trying new healthy foods and this is definitely a tease…it looks like my favorite Chinese food dish! Great job and how motivating your story about the bike rides and great health going together!!!

  • Mandalahi1010

    hy, What you wrote was very nice, and really helped me, thanks for sharing

  • A Akilandeswari

    Wow simply amazing……

  • Sarah

    This looks so so delicious 🙂 and running or riding a bike outside is totally different to doing it at the gym, don’t think a lot of people get that though!

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