Tofu Steak

Tofu steak is a great meal when you are craving a protein but are not in the mood for meat.  We love tofu steak at my house because it’s such a versatile dish – you can cook it with butter and salt or top it with just about any veggie or sauce that you want.  Whether you are looking for a healthy meal or want to try a new culinary experience, Tofu Steak will fit the bill.

In Japan, soybeans is a staple and people eat soy in a multitude of dishes.  One of the most popular ways to eat soy is to enjoy tofu.  Tofu comes in may different styles and shapes.  It can be formed and pressed and eaten uncooked or fried, baked, grilled or broiled.

One of my favorite tofu dishes is tofu steak.  Tofu absorbs the flavors of whatever is served with it, so when I make tofu steak I like to cook the tofu as plainly as possible and then add toppings to give it a unique taste and texture.

This recipe uses grated Japanese mountain yam (yamaimo), soy sauce and bonito flakes (katsuobushi) as toppings for the tofu.  But you can use a variety of other toppings as you like- miso, chopped cooked veggies, or even pasta sauce.


Tofu Steak topped with yamaimo, katsuobushi and soy sauce.

Tofu Steak

When preparing tofu steak it’s important to remember that tofu is very soft and you have to handle it with extreme care.  Turn it or touch it as infrequently as possible during cooking and be sure if you are using spatulas, tongs or other cooking utensils to use a light touch.

One of the most important steps when cooking tofu is to use some weight to press out the extra water.  Use firm or extra firm tofu for this recipe because there is less water trapped in it than in soft tofu.

20 minutes 6 minutes Serves 3
PREP 20 minutes
COOKING 6 minutes
YIELD Serves 3


  • 3/4 lb (350g) block of firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 2 tsps soy sauce
  • A 3-inch long slice of yamaimo (Japanese yam)
  • 1/4 cup katsuobushi (bonito flakes)


  • Peel and grate the Yamaimo.

  • Slice the tofu into 3 even steaks.  Handle carefully so as to not break it.  Lay out on an absorbent paper towel.

  • Place another towel on top of the tofu.

  • Place a dish on top of the tofu.  Put some additional weight on the dish.  Allow the tofu to sit for at least 15 minutes.

  • Remove the weight.  Coat the tofu with flour.

  • Fry the tofu in the oil over medium high heat for 3 minutes on each side.

  • Drain the tofu on an absorbent paper towel or a rack.

  • Serve.

  • Top with soy sauce, yamaimo, and bonito flakes to taste.


  • Although you can add salt and pepper and cook the tofu with butter, I recommend you try it plain the first time and top it off with your favorite sauce.
  • Tofu steaks can be refrigerated after cooking and saved for 3 days.  They will become firmer in the refrigerator.
  • Japanese yam (yamaimo) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes) can be found in most Asian groceries. Try them both for an authentic Japanese taste.  You can also use shredded shiso leaves, myouga, garlic, and/or miso to top it off.
  • Skip the Bonito flakes for a 100% vegan meal.

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