Indonesian Baked Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce Recipe

Indonesian Baked Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 40 minutes

Crispy baked tofu and spicy peanut sauce is a rather fortuitous combination. Tofu straight out of the package doesn’t have much taste, but it’s ideal to absorb flavors like the rich and spicy sauce in this recipe. I use Sambal Oelek, the famous Indonesian spicy sauce so popular in Southeast Asia and the Netherlands. This dish rewards you with amazing flavors and instant gratification.

Serve with Jasmine rice. Chinese egg noodles tossed lightly with a bit of sesame oil wouldn’t be out of line either.


Baked Tofu

  • 1 lb (450 g) extra firm tofu, drained
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium bell peppers, red, yellow, or any other color, seeded and cut into 1-inch (2,5 cm) slices
  • 1 medium red onion cut into 1-inch (2,5 cm) slices
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 5 Tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander leaves) for garnish, roughly chopped

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • 1 cup (250 g) creamy peanut butter
  • 6 Tbsp rice vinegar, or to taste
  • 4 Tbsp light soy sauce, or to taste
  • 4 Tbsp sesame oil, or to taste
  • 4 Tbsp lime juice, or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek or sriracha to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger

Sambal Oelek is an Indonesian chile paste consisting of crushed raw red chiles, red and green peppers, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, vinegar and a pinch each of sugar and salt. A flavorful condiment and ingredient in cooked foods. It tastes like you are cooking with fresh chiles – only better. Sambal Oelek is available in the Asian food section of supermarkets or Asian food stores. One tablespoon is roughly the equivalent of a chopped, small jalapeño. Sambal Oelek aficionados prepare their own of course.


Start by removing excess moisture of the tofu. You will need 2 cutting boards, paper towels and weights. Line 1st cutting board with paper towels. Place tofu block on it. Cover it with paper towels. Place 2nd cutting board on top of it. Weigh it down with tomato cans or a pot filled with water. Let it drain for 15 minutes, changing paper towels mid-term.

Preheat oven 450° F/230° C.

When tofu draining time is over, cut tofu blocks into 1-inch/2.5 cm cubes. Place cubes in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. Give it a gentle toss and make sure tofu is well covered with oil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange tofu cubes a bit apart and on a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake it for about 20 minutes or until tofu starts browning on the edges.

While the tofu is baking prepare the peanut butter sauce. In a bowl, add the peanut butter, rice vinegar, light soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice, sugar, sambal oelek, garlic, ginger, and enough tablespoons of water to thin it up to your taste. Stir until smooth and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Set aside until ready to use.

Remove tofu from the oven and keep it warm. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok. Add scallions, peppers, and red onion. Cook it for 1-2 minutes. Add the tofu and stir all gently to warm it up.

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