I have a sneaking suspicion that this dish will dethrone teriyaki tofu as my go-to tofu recipe this year. It checks all the boxes for an easy and satisfying weeknight dinner: it requires only a few ingredients, can be paired with any of your favorite dipping sauces, and it's irresistibly crispy without being fried. Sesame seeds add a deep roasted flavor to the simple panko breading.
If you can get your hands on high-protein or super-firm tofu (the kind that comes vacuum-packed, rather than in water), I recommend using it! It has an extra chew to it that almost mimics chicken nuggets in this recipe. If you use firm or extra-firm tofu, I recommend wrapping it in a tea towel and pressing out the extra moisture; this will ensure that your breading crisps up beautifully.
My favorite way to cook these is in my air fryer – they're done in about 10 minutes! If you happen to have one of these magical contraptions, I highly recommend this method; just spread your breaded tofu evenly along the bottom of the basket. Leave some space between them to allow the breading to crisp up on all sides.
If you're making a larger batch, it'll be more practical to bake them. I give them a quick spritz with cooking oil just to encourage them to brown (although this can be skipped) and bake them on a lined tray for easy cleanup.
Sweet chili sauce is my favorite companion to this tofu, but I also recommend a ginger-lime dressing, peanut sauce, or something lighter such as ponzu. If you want to go the extra step, you can even marinate your tofu for a few hours or overnight in your sauce of choice.