Delicious recipes

Recipe: Teriyaki Glazed Tofu Steak – Umami

Tofu is one of those foods that is so versatile because it absorbs the flavors of whatever it’s cooked with.

If you like bright flavors and sweet-and-savory combinations, this recipe for Teriyaki Glazed Tofu Steak is sure to please, as it’s complex, balanced, and umami.

By: Elizabeth Toy

But what’s umami?

Umami is the 5th (often difficult-to describe) taste.  You’re familiar with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, but umami has a taste that is described as rounded, rich, and savory – think meaty (but not necessarily containing meat).

Scientifically speaking, the umami taste is caused by a naturally occurring non-essential animo-acid, monosodium glutamate or MSG, commonly-known and used to enhance flavors.

While MSG carries its own stigma when we think of Asian food, when used in moderation, it can make a good dish exceptional. While it doesn’t taste like anything on its own, when added to particular foods, it amplifies sweet and savory sensations while toning down sour or bitter tastes.

Some foods that are umami-rich include: garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano, soy sauce, mushrooms, seaweed, kimchi, asparagus, and tomatoes.

In short, umami does to food what salt does to garlic: add depth and amplify flavor.

DreamyLeaf featured this complex-tasting but easy-to-make teriyaki glazed tofu steak that’s a fine example of umami. When fried or crisped, firm tofu develops a rich, umami taste. And on top of that, the simple, made-from scratch teriyaki sauce only adds to the flavor in this dish – which just goes to show that you don’t need to be a carnivore to enjoy umami.

So heat the grill and experience umami for yourself.

Serve with stuffed peppers and cauliflower rice for a balanced meal.

Teriyaki Glazed Tofu Steak


Teriyaki Sauce
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (~5 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon+ lemon juice (juice from 1 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon corn starch
Tofu Steaks
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu (1 lbs, 454 gr)
  • Oil, for coating the pan (use your favorite high temperature oil: coconut, grapeseed, corn, canola…)


  1. Mix all the teriyaki sauce ingredients well
  2. Cut the tofu block into about ½-inch (1.5 cm) thick slices
  3. Coat a skillet with oil and warm up over medium-high heat
  4. Add the tofu steaks. Depending on the skillet size, you will likely need to cook these in 2 batches
  5. Flip and cook the tofu until it develops a golden-brown crust on both sides, repeat until all the tofu is cooked
  6. Leave the last batch in the skillet and pour in half of the teriyaki sauce mix
  7. Keep the heat on, coat and flip the tofu steaks with the sauce as the sauce reduces, clarifies and thickens, about 2 minutes.
  8. Repeat with the rest of the tofu steaks and the sauce.

Need a last-minute dessert? If you’ve never tried grilled summer fruit, start with grilled peaches and ice cream. And if you’re celebrating, no reason not to break out the blue wine and blue prosecco!

What’s your favorite way to cook tofu? Do you enjoy umami-rich foods?  Share with us in the comments.

Photo Source: DreamyLeaf

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