Thai Tofu Satay Recipe

Tofu satay
Simon Pask / Getty Images
  • 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: serves 2 to 4 as a main entree
Ratings (5)

Try this Thai Tofu Satay for a vegetarian/vegan main course dish that's incredibly flavorful and nutritionally complete. The recipe for the satay marinade for this dish goes back generations, all the way back to Thailand and northern Malaysia, and it's as delicious as it is authentic. Be sure to pair it with Real Peanut Satay Sauce -- it's easy to make and adds the finishing touch to this great vegan dish.

Tip: This satay can be grilled or cooked in your oven -- see oven instructions below recipe.

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 to 1 package firm tofu (approximately 12 ounces)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 purple onion or yellow cooking onion, sliced into wedges for skewering
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 cup minced lemongrass, fresh or frozen
  • 2 shallots or 1/4 cup purple onion, sliced
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chilies, or 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 thumb-sized piece galangal or ginger, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons regular soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

How to Make It

  1. Slice tofu into thick cubes or long pieces. Place in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Place all marinade ingredients (lemongrass, shallots/onion, garlic, chilies, ginger/galangal, turmeric, coriander, cumin, soy sauces, brown sugar, oil, and salt) in a food processor or blender and blitz.​
  3. Taste-test the marinade for salt, spice, and sweetness. Note: with this marinade, you should first taste salty, followed by sweet and spicy. Add a little salt if needed, or more sugar if not sweet enough. Add more chili for more heat, if desired.
  1. Pour marinade over the tofu, turning tofu to cover all sides. Add the bell pepper pieces and onion wedges and gently turn in the marinade together with the tofu. Set in the refrigerator to marinate at least 1 hour, or cover and leave to marinate up to 24 hours.
  2. Thread the tofu, bell pepper, and onion onto wooden or stainless-steel skewers (soak wooden ones in your sink 10 minutes beforehand to prevent burning). Retain the bowl with the leftover marinade for basting.
  3. Lightly brush grill with oil, then set skewers over the fire. Grill until tofu and vegetables are lightly browned. As you grill, baste with leftover marinade. If desired, sprinkle some sesame seeds over each satay stick after basting.
  4. Serve with Easy Satay Peanut Sauce, and plain rice, coconut rice, or sticky rice.

Making This Dish In the Oven

Be sure to soak wooden satay sticks at least 10 minutes before using this method. Lay prepared satay on a baking sheet (cover first with parchment paper, if desired). Set oven to BROIL, and place a rack on the highest or second-highest rung of your oven. Slide tofu under the broiler and broil 5 minutes per side, or until tofu is nicely browned and vegetables are lightly charred. Baste halfway through cooking with leftover marinade, and sprinkle over the sesame seeds just before serving.