Spiced Tofu Cakes with Hoisin Sauce and Toasted Sesame

These spiced tofu cakes are the perfect simple warming dish now that we are entering the Autumn months and there’s a chill in the air, but they also work great for a starter or appetiser for any upcoming celebrations or holidays (hello Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m looking at you here). I’m already mentally preparing to make these for Christmas Day for my family as they go down such a treat with both adults and kids – to make it a little more child (or adult) friendly you can adjust the spice level to your tastes and preferences in both the tofu cakes, in the sauce or both!

Speaking of the sauce – I absolutely love this one. It’s sweet; it’s sticky and it works perfectly with these delightful little tofu cakes. Not only does it add heat, but it is a great glue to stick all those wonderfully toasted sesame seeds and chopped coriander too. The sauce clings to all the homemade crevices and just completes the entire dish which is super simple to make but looks (and tastes) super professional. You can even serve extra of the sauce on the side and dip the tofu cakes in (you can even double-dip, I promise I won’t tell!) or you can remove the siracha from the cakes for those who don’t like spicy food and serve the sauce on the side, with extra spice to make up for those who do. 

Whatever way you serve your sauce, make sure to make extra. It makes the perfect dressing for seasonal salads made from cooled leftover roasted pumpkin and toasted seeds or swirled into soups and stews for a little finishing kick or even used to toss noodles or salad leaves through. Speaking of roasted pumpkin – the sauce also works as a great marinade for root vegetables before baking, or to leave big chunks of tofu in to soak up all those wonderful flavours overnight before frying to a crisped perfection.

I always love to add some extra crunch on top of any dish I make or eat so by adding the sesame seeds in the form of one of my favourite toppings: gomashio – a dry condiment that is found within the Japanese cuisine and is made from unhulled sesame seeds and salt – you get the best of both worlds. You can use this as a seasoning, a condiment or a topping – or eat straight from the jar, like I do. The roasty-toasty sesame seeds add a beautiful nutty taste that when paired with the saltiness of the sea salt flakes is perfectly balanced and just takes your dishes to a whole new level, in both taste and texture. Like the sauce, I always make extra whenever I’m making gomashio, because it pairs well with so many dishes. From the Japanese dishes it was made for, but it also works amazing with Mediterranean dishes – roasted vegetables in rich, thick tomato sauce laden with garlic, or just sprinkled atop your avocado toast for Sunday brunch with some extra seeds for good measure. I always use my seeds liberally in any dish, so feel free to do the same in this one. Add them in, on top and sprinkled extra! 

Tofu works incredibly well with the mild and sweet flavour of the sesame that once toasted brings that nutty undertone it needs. I often pair the two together, either through a sesame oil to marinate or fry in, or through added seeds on top – or sometimes – most of the time – both. Like in my delicious Coconut Rice with Roast Courgette, Fennel, Crispy Tofu and Gomashio. Another nut that brings that sweetness with the same nutty tone is coconut. Again I either use the milk or oil to marinate or fry and then toasted flakes on top for crunch – if you’re a fan of coconut, you must give my Vegetable Coconut Curry with Coconut Crusted Tofu a try. I coat the tofu chunks in extra coconut before frying to really crisp up and turn super delicious. You could actually do this with sesame seeds – I’d remove the salt for this one though, so don’t recommend using the gomashio, and just season to taste.

You could even make these tofu cakes into little ‘meatballs’ and then coat with the seeds and fry before piling on top of pasta, root mash or your favourite carb. The best thing about these cakes is that they freeze really well so you can always make a batch and then just pop them out to defrost when needed. Just fry your cakes following the recipe but don’t add any sauce once done. Once fried, make sure to dab dry with a paper towel or cloth to remove any excess oil. Allow to completely cool (I’d recommend using a cooling rack to avoid any soggy bottoms) and then layer in a freezer-proof container with parchment paper or wax paper in between each layer to avoid them sticking together. These can last for up to 2-3 months in the freezer. When you want to use them, grab them from the freezer and microwave for a few minutes at a time till defrosted. Then pop them in a hot pan to crisp up and warm through. You could even pop them in the toaster to do the same job. 

If you don’t want to freeze them but have made a large batch, follow the same steps for storing but pop in the fridge instead – these will last between 3-5 days. To heat – just pop in a hot pan or in the toaster before eating. Or they can be eaten cold as a snack, with or without dipping sauce, but always with an extra pinch of gomashio and coriander for all those wonderful aromatic flavours that bring out the delicious filling inside.

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  8-12 servings
  15 minutes preparation time
  30 minutes cook time


For the tofu cakes;

  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • 200g firm tofu, chopped up very finely
  • 1 tbsp Siracha
  • 10 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 15g fresh coriander, chopped 
  • Big pinch salt
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

For the sauce;

  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil 
  • 1 tbsp Siracha
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp brown rice miso
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce



For the cakes;

  1. Add the oil to a frying pan and add the spring onions.
  2. Fry for 4-5 minutes on medium then add the grated carrot and garlic. Fry for a further 3-4 minutes until soft, then add in the soy sauce and chilli flakes.
  3. Stir to combine and turn off the heat.
  4. Now chop up the tofu very finely and transfer to a large bowl along with the cooked onion and carrot mix and all the remaining ingredients.
  5. Stir thoroughly to combine well.

To make the sauce;

  1. Add the ingredients to a jar and mix to combine.

To cook the tofu cakes;

  1. In a frying pan, add a little oil, then scoop up 1 heaped tbsp of the mix and carefully dollop into the pan, flattening with the spoon to shape into a circle.
  2. Fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden and crispy, then flip over to cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side
  3. Repeat until all the mixture has gone.

To serve; 

  1. Drizzle the sauce over the tofu cakes, sprinkle the gomashio and fresh coriander.

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  1. Jane on October 23, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Looks delicious! Is there anything I can substitute for chickpea flour?

    • Niki on October 24, 2021 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Jane
      Sure, you can use plain flour.
      Lovem, Niki xxx

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Recipe Tags: hoisin pancakes seseme tofu


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