Black Garlic Tofu

At first glance, black garlic may seem a bit shocking. But don’t let its color fool you. It’s actually quite mild in flavor, much tamer than regular garlic actually. It’s full of great umami flavor – adding complexity and depth to dishes. It’s also surprisingly sweet. In this easy fast recipe for Black Garlic Tofu, the tofu is quickly caramelized in a hot wok, then finished with the black garlic sauce. The sauce  can be whipped up in minutes. Sprinkled with chive blossoms and chives, this can easily be ready in 15- 20 minutes. The black garlic gives the tofu a unique caramelly flavor. Vegan and gluten free, this is one of our “go to” quick healthy meatless dinners. 

If tofu is not your “thing”, I would venture to guess, that you have never had good tofu, prepared well. You’d be surprised how great it tastes when given a good crispy crunch and flavorful sauce. It’s all about good texture and flavor. On its own, it’s really quite bland, and the soft texture can be off-putting to many. But caramelize it and flavor it,  and it’s transformed. 

In our area, fermented black garlic is available at Trader Joe’s.

The first thing to do, is give it a taste, if you never have before. Once you do, I bet you will think of all sorts of dishes to include it in.

To make the sauce, place 5 or 6 cloves in a blender with a little soy sauce, oil, sugar and water. Sometimes I’ll add a little ginger, but I think I prefer it without.

When prepping your tofu, press it firmly on both sides with paper towels to remove the moisture.

Cut it into ¾ inch cubes…and blot again.

In a wok or heavy bottom skillet, bring a Tablespoon of vegetable or peanut oil, to the point of smoking, on high heat. Add salt and pepper, directly to the oil.

Turn the heat to med – high and gently slide the tofu in the hot oil, careful not to splash.
Using a metal spatula or slotted spoon, turn the tofu every minute or so, for a good 10 minutes, until the tofu begins to caramelize and turn golden and crispy. You really want to get it caramelized and crispy, so don’t hurry this part. 
Once crispy, set it aside on a plate.
Pour the black garlic sauce in the wok, all by itself, on med high heat, stirring constantly for one minute, until the sauce darkens and becomes shiny. Then slide the tofu back in, toss to coat for a few seconds, and serve immediately. If you cook the tofu in the sauce too long, you will loose your crispy texture. 

Sprinkle with chives, chive blossoms.
You could  also sprinkle toasty peanuts or toasted sesame seeds.

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Black Garlic Tofu
by June-7-2014
Crispy caramelized tofu with a fermented black garlic sauce
12 oz block of extra firm tofu
5-6 cloves black fermented garlic
3 T peanut or vegetable oil plus more for frying
3 T water
2 T soy sauce
1 T sugar
salt and pepper to taste
⅛ C chives and chive blossoms
Press tofu with paper towels to remove water. Cut into ¾ inch cubes. Blot again.
Blend the black garlic cloves, oil, water, soy sauce and sugar into a paste, using a blender.

Heat 1 T oil in wok or skillet on high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt and cracked pepper to the heating oil. When it begins to smoke, turn heat down to medium high, and carefully slide the tofu in, you don’t want it to splash.

Turn over tofu, every minute or so, letting it caramelize and crisp up on all sides. This will take about 10 minutes on medium high heat. Once tofu is crispy and golden, scoop it onto a plate and set aside.

Carefully pour black garlic sauce into the wok and stir constantly over medium high heat, for one minute, and it will turn shiny and dark.

Place tofu back in wok with the sauce, stir to coat each piece well, about 30 seconds, and serve immediately. If you cook the tofu too long in the sauce, you will loose the nice crisp you created. Top with fresh chopped chives and chive blossoms.


Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2

thanks for sharing!
thanks for sharing!


  1. says

    So glad you posted this! I’ve picked up and put back down the black garlic at Trader Joe’s at least 10 times because I had no clue what to do with it! Looks delicious!

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