10-Minute Chilled Tofu Appetizer

This 10-minute chilled tofu dish is the perfect appetizer for warm weather. Sliced tofu is served with a soy sauce and rice vinegar mix with garlic and scallions.

10 Minute Tofu Appetizer - an easy, vegan cold tofu dish that is great as an appetizer!

This is an updated version of my recipe that I first published in March 2014. 

Soft tofu is a very common ingredient in Chinese cuisine. Growing up, I ate countless plates of braised soft tofu, with dried shrimp, green onions, and Mama Lin’s secret brown sauce. I also loved eating soft tofu for dessert. There is a delectable Chinese dessert called doufu hua (豆腐花), which is made only with soft tofu, water and sugar. But it wasn’t until I lived in China years ago, that I started eating soft tofu as a savory appetizer.

As it turns out, these chilled tofu appetizers are common dishes that many restaurants in China serve. Soft tofu is sliced into small planks and topped with a ton of minced garlic and a savory sauce, usually made with a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. This dish is so easy to prepare, and I make it often when I just want a light meal.

10 Minute Tofu Appetizer - an easy, vegan cold tofu dish that is great as an appetizer!


  • Cooking the garlic: To prevent the garlic from burning, I pour hot oil over the minced garlic. Whenever I do it the other way around (adding garlic to the pan of hot oil), I always burn the garlic.

10-Minute Tofu Appetizer

10 Minute Tofu Appetizer - an easy, vegan cold tofu dish that is great as an appetizer!

In this recipe, I’m using a 12-ounce package of tofu, but it works with larger packages of tofu, too. There should be enough sauce for a 14 or 16-ounce package.

  • Author: Lisa Lin
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 12-ounce package soft or silken tofu
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil (or any neutral oil)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (use tamari if gluten free)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 stalk of scallions, finely chopped
  • toasted sesame seeds


  1. Remove the tofu out of the package and drain the water. Slice the tofu into 1/4-inch slices. If you want more bite-sized pieces of tofu, you can chop it into 1/2-inch cubes.
  2. Place the minced garlic in a small bowl.
  3. Heat the safflower oil in a small saucepan for about a minute over medium heat. When the oil is hot, turn of the heat. Pour the oil over the garlic. You should be able to hear the garlic sizzle.
  4. Add the soy sauce (or tamari), rice vinegar, and sesame oil to the garlic oil. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour some of the garlic sauce onto the tofu. You can use as much of the sauce as you like. Top tofu with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.


NUTRITION INFORMATION: Amount for 1/4 of Recipe: Calories: 107, Total Fat 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 561mg, Cholesterol: 0mg, Total Carbohydrate: 3g, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 0.7g, Protein 8g


6 thoughts on “10-Minute Chilled Tofu Appetizer

  1. Serena Ball (@tspcurry)

    Oh my! What a super simple app! Tofu is such a fun food for me and my kids! It tastes creamy and indulgent, but it’s so healthy and fun to eat. They’ve eaten it plain since they were babies…but now I have to try this they will love scooping it up.

    1. Lisa

      I don’t think I’ve ever tried it plain before. I’ve always eaten silken tofu with a bit of sugar or a savory sauce. I hope you and your children enjoy this dish!

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    1. Lisa Lin Post author

      Hi, Amelia! I’m using the Japanese-style rice vinegar. I’m not sure if the brand I’m using is available in Singapore, but it’s called Mizkan. If your supermarkets have a section for Japanese cooking, take a look there. I hope this helps!

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