Braised and Confused

It used to be a running joke that my seal of approval was more like the kiss of death to any burgeoning product or brand. I’d fall madly in love, declare it to the world, and that would be the end of it. Overnight, packages would quietly disappear from shelves, replaced by something different entirely. The object of my affection would vanish into thin air, ghosting me like all the misguided suitors on Hinge.

Thus, another beloved product bites the dust. Hodo, my favorite tofu maker the world over, recently scaled back production of this rare treat, selling in only limited markets. While certain parts of the country remain unaffected, immersed in a wealth of soy-based delights as always, I find myself without access to some of my cherished favorites.

Photo by colin price

Braised tofu, tender yet toothsome, was affected by that merciless culling. Nutty, complex, and creamy firm tofu infused with a savory and sweet Chinese five-spice blend, its subtle nuances set it apart from the pack. Plenty of renditions exist in Chinatown, as a classic staple of the cuisine, but none care so much about quality ingredients as Hodo.

Heartbroken, the only consolation is the ease of DIY replication. Though instant gratification is now off the table, they’ve generously shared the secret formula to recreate this braised beauty at home.

Once seasoned, it’s ready to eat as is, adding heft and flavor in spades to any stir fry, salad, or platter of crudités, even. Flavorful and satisfying all by itself, there are far worse snacks than a few thinly shaved slices draped delicately over crisp cucumbers or slices of toasted baguette.

Braised tofu is dead; long live braised tofu! It’s up to us home cooks to carry the torch now.

Yield: Makes 4 - 8 Servings

Braised Tofu

Braised Tofu

Deeply savory, richly flavored, and satisfyingly meaty, this is the best way to enjoy authentically prepared braised tofu. Enjoy as is, seared as a steak-like entree, or tossed into salads, thinly sliced as a snack, and anywhere else you want to add some extra umami and protein.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes


  • 2 (10-Ounce) Packages Hodo Firm Tofu
  • 4 Cups Mushroom Stock
  • 5 Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 5 Whole Cloves
  • 2 Whole Star Anise
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce or Tamari


  1. Cut each piece of tofu in half crosswise, giving you a total of 4 square pieces.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot, set over medium heat, and simmer for at least 45 minutes, and ideally 1 hour and 30 minutes. (You may do this a day in advance and leave all ingredients in pot.)
  3. Cook in a non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron, searing the exterior dark brown and done to your liking. Serve hot, or cool and store in an airtight container for up to a week to enjoy later.


Recipe adapted from Hodo Foods' Ultimate Tofu Steak.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 753mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations

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