Five-spice Tofu Recipe from China

Five-spice Tofu

Five-spice Tofu Recipe from China
Region / culture: China | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4


Five-spice Tofu
Five-spice Tofu

Five-spice tofu is a flavorful and aromatic dish that combines the unique flavors of five-spice powder with the delicate texture of tofu. This dish is a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans looking for a protein-packed meal that is both delicious and satisfying.


Five-spice tofu has its origins in Chinese cuisine, where five-spice powder is a common ingredient used to add depth and complexity to dishes. The combination of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds creates a bold and fragrant seasoning that pairs perfectly with the mild flavor of tofu.


How to prepare

  1. Cut each block of tofu in half horizontally.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients in a pot that is wide enough to fit the four tofu pieces in a single layer.
  3. Bring the marinade to a boil and add the tofu.
  4. Simmer, uncovered, on very low heat for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and let the tofu marinate for 3 hours, turning it 2 or 3 times.
  6. Keep the tofu refrigerated and wrapped for up to a week.


  • For a spicy kick, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the marinade. You can also add vegetables such as bell peppers, broccoli, or snap peas to the dish for added texture and flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure that your five-spice tofu is flavorful and tender, be sure to marinate the tofu for at least 3 hours before cooking. This will allow the tofu to absorb the flavors of the marinade and become more flavorful. Additionally, be sure to simmer the tofu on low heat to prevent it from becoming tough or rubbery.

Serving Suggestions

Five-spice tofu can be served over steamed rice or noodles, or enjoyed on its own as a protein-packed snack.

Cooking Techniques

Simmering the tofu on low heat allows it to absorb the flavors of the marinade without becoming tough or rubbery. Be sure to turn the tofu pieces occasionally to ensure even marinating.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don't have five-spice powder on hand, you can substitute a combination of ground cinnamon, cloves, and fennel seeds. You can also use honey or maple syrup in place of molasses.

Make Ahead Tips

Five-spice tofu can be marinated in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Simply reheat the tofu in a skillet or microwave before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Garnish the five-spice tofu with chopped green onions or sesame seeds for a pop of color and flavor. Serve the tofu on a bed of steamed rice or noodles for a complete meal.

Pairing Recommendations

Five-spice tofu pairs well with steamed vegetables, stir-fried greens, or a side of kimchi. For a complete meal, serve the tofu with a side of jasmine rice or quinoa.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover five-spice tofu in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat the tofu in a skillet or microwave until heated through before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of five-spice tofu contains approximately 200 calories.


Each serving of five-spice tofu contains approximately 10 grams of carbohydrates.


Each serving of five-spice tofu contains approximately 8 grams of fat.


Each serving of five-spice tofu contains approximately 15 grams of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

Five-spice tofu is a good source of calcium, iron, and magnesium.


Five-spice tofu contains soy, which may be an allergen for some individuals.


Five-spice tofu is a nutritious and protein-packed dish that is low in carbohydrates and calories. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans.


Five-spice tofu is a flavorful and aromatic dish that is perfect for vegetarians and vegans looking for a protein-packed meal. With a rich marinade and tender texture, this dish is sure to become a favorite in your household.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still remember the exact moment I stumbled upon this recipe for Five-spice Tofu. It was a warm summer day, and I was walking through the bustling streets of Chinatown in search of new and exciting ingredients to add to my cooking repertoire. As I meandered through the colorful markets and shops, the tantalizing aromas of spices and herbs filled the air, drawing me in like a magnet.

I found myself in front of a small, unassuming store with a sign that read "Lee's Spice Emporium." Intrigued, I pushed open the creaky door and stepped inside. The shop was a treasure trove of exotic spices and herbs from all corners of the world. The air was heavy with the scent of cinnamon, cloves, and star anise, and I felt like I had entered a culinary wonderland.

As I browsed through the shelves, my eyes fell upon a small packet labeled "Five-spice blend." Curious, I picked it up and read the ingredients: star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds. The combination sounded intriguing, and I knew I had to try it out in my cooking.

I bought the packet of Five-spice blend and rushed home to experiment in my kitchen. I decided to pair it with tofu, a versatile ingredient that I had recently grown fond of. I had never tried making tofu with Five-spice before, but I was excited to see how the flavors would come together.

I began by pressing the tofu to remove excess water and then cut it into bite-sized cubes. In a bowl, I mixed together the Five-spice blend with soy sauce, sesame oil, and a touch of honey to create a savory marinade. I tossed the tofu in the marinade and let it sit for a few hours to absorb all the flavors.

When it was time to cook, I heated a skillet over medium-high heat and added a splash of oil. I carefully placed the marinated tofu cubes in the pan, making sure not to overcrowd them. The aroma that wafted up from the sizzling tofu was intoxicating, a fragrant blend of warm spices and sweet soy sauce.

As the tofu cooked, I couldn't resist sneaking a taste. The texture was firm yet tender, with a subtle sweetness from the honey and a kick of heat from the Sichuan peppercorns. The Five-spice blend added a depth of flavor that I had never experienced before, and I knew I had stumbled upon something truly special.

I served the Five-spice tofu over a bed of steamed jasmine rice, garnished with fresh cilantro and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The dish was a symphony of flavors and textures, each bite a delightful surprise for the taste buds. I was thrilled with how the recipe turned out and couldn't wait to share it with my family and friends.

From that day on, Five-spice tofu became a staple in my cooking repertoire. It was a dish that never failed to impress, whether served as a main course or a side dish. The recipe was a testament to the power of experimentation and the joy of discovering new flavors and ingredients.

As I sit here reminiscing about that fateful day in Chinatown, I am filled with gratitude for the serendipitous encounter that led me to the recipe for Five-spice tofu. It is a dish that holds a special place in my heart, a reminder of the endless possibilities that await us in the world of cooking. And who knows, perhaps there are countless more recipes out there just waiting to be discovered.


| Chinese Five-spice Powder Recipes | Chinese Recipes | Firm Tofu Recipes | Molasses Recipes | Star Anise Recipes |

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