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Taiwanese Three Cup Tofu

a bowl of food

Crispy is an understatement when it comes to this recipe. This traditional sauce is commonly used in many Asian recipes and combines savory and caramelized flavors in the best way. Three cup sauce is delicious on practically any dish, so let me show you how to make it.

Taiwanese Three Cup Tofu


  • 1 package of medium-firm tofu (396 grams) 
  • 2-4 garlic cloves 
  • 4 cm piece of ginger
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil 
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 4 tbsp rice wine 
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  •  ½ cup basil (Thai basil is preferred)

Tofu Prep:

1. Freeze and thaw the package the tofu. This will allow water crystals to form in the tofu and create more surface area for the tofu to get crispy when it is baked.
2. After the tofu is thawed, take it out of its package and press the tofu for 20-30 minutes. You can press the tofu by placing it in between a towel on a plate and placing a pan/ heavy book on top. Or use a tofu press, if you have one.


1. Press out any remaining liquid from the tofu with your hands.
2. Tear the block of tofu into nugget sized pieces (around 3 cm). Place into a bowl.
3. Add the cornstarch into the bowl of tofu and lightly toss until all pieces of tofu are covered with cornstarch.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out the tofu on the parchment paper.
5. Once all the tofu is on the baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil across the pieces of tofu.
6. Bake the tofu on the middle oven rack at 200 C for 25 minutes or until crispy. In the meantime, we can prep our other ingredients.
7. Finely slice the garlic cloves and julienne the ginger. Set aside.
8. Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and brown sugar into a bowl. Stir until the brown sugar has dissolved.
9. Once your tofu is done baking, pull it out of the oven and let cool.
10. Heat a pan with the sesame oil to medium-high heat. Once the sesame oil is fragrant, add your ginger and garlic. Be careful as it can burn easily. (The taste of sesame oil might be too potent for some. Adjust the sesame oil to taste.)
11. As you start to smell the aroma of the ginger and garlic, add the soy sauce, rice wine, and brown sugar mixture into the pan. At this stage, you can lower the heat to medium or medium-low and let the sauce thicken.
12. The sauce should be able to evenly coat the back of a spoon. Next, add the crispy tofu and basil into the pan and toss all the ingredients together in the sauce.
13. Your Taiwanese Three Cup Tofu is complete. This dish is best served over rice, salad, or with other sides!

Vivian Nguyen