block of goma dofu on a white plate with miso sauce on top

Black sesame tofu made from sesame seeds, starch and dashi is a umami-rich alternative to tofu with a delicate, custard-pudding like texture. Learn how to make this delicate soy-free tofu easily at home!

block of black sesame tofu on a white plate with miso sauce on top and sauce bottle behind it

Tofu is a huge part of Japanese cuisine and there are so many different variations of tofu available in Japan! Just to name a few:

  • aburaage (deep fried tofu pockets)
  • agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu)
  • yudofu (hot tofu)
  • tamago dofu (egg tofu)
  • iburi tofu (smoked tofu)
  • okara (residue of tofu)
  • yuba (tofu skin)
  • koya dofu (freeze dried tofu)
  • goma dofu (sesame tofu)

Today, I’m going to be sharing how to make the black sesame version of goma dofu. It’s one of my absolute favourites– I vividly remember running to the grocery store beside my grandmas apartment as soon as we arrived (after 13 hours on a plane…) just to pick up a few packs of goma dofu. If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy tofu or have a soy allergy, this is a super delish alternative!

What is goma dofu?

Goma dofu is one of many side dishes served at the beginning of the meal in shojin ryori. Shojin ryori is another topic in its self but a traditional vegan or vegetarian dining style practiced by Buddhist monks in Japan. Instead of meat or fish, it’s comprised of a variety of tofu dishes such as this black sesame tofu.

Goma dofu is a tofu look-alike made without any soy beans. It doesn’t really have the exact same texture of tofu but rather a pudding-custard like texture. Traditionally, it’s made with dashi, sesame seeds and kudzu starch. Kudzu starch comes from the kudzu root and looks very similar to other common starches.

However, kudzu starch is hard to come by and quite expensive, even in Japan so people will use another starch like potato starch. Depending on which starch you use, the texture will slightly vary. Kudzu starch will produce a more bouncy yet firm texture whereas potato starch will have a more firm mochi-like texture. I haven’t had success using other starches which is why I do recommend sticking to potato starch.

If you ever go to a Buddhist temple or restaurant, they’ll make the goma tofu from scratch: grind their own kudzu, sesame seeds and make their own dashi. But for making it at home, it can easily be done with store bought starch, pre-made sesame paste and kombu dashi granules.

water in a measuring cup on top right, potato starch in a red bowl on top left, black sesame paste in a white bowl below, dashi powder

How to Make It

The Ingredients

Just three ingredients are needed to make this recipe:

  • Black sesame paste (or white sesame paste for a shiro goma version)
  • Potato Starch (or Kudzu starch if you can find it)
  • Kombu Dashi (seaweed stock)
  • Water

The Directions

  1. Mix the ingredients in a small sauce pan with a whisk until smooth.
  2. Place over medium heat and continue to whisk until it begins to thicken.
  3. Drop the temperature to medium low to low. Switch to a spatula and continue to mix back and forth, smushing down any lumps.  As it heats up continue to stir for about 5 minutes or until it looks kinda like gooey pudding. Remove from heat, transfer to dampened moulds and cover.

NOTE: Typically it’ll be covered with something like plastic wrap (shown in the photo) but I have tested just covering it with a damp kitchen cloth and that will also work to reduce waste.

Watch How to Make It

How to serve

In shojin ryori, you’ll typically see it served with some wasabi and soy sauce for a light and refreshing side among many other side dishes.

When purchasing it from the store or restaurants it may also be served with a sweet miso sauce (which I personally prefer). It’s super easy to make as well, kinda like a salted-savoury caramel! I’ve included how to make it in the recipe card below.

block of kuro gomadofu on a white plate with nothing on it

Tips & Takeaways

  • Timing: timing is key to get the right texture! I highly recommend watching the video to see what the texture should look like before removing from the heat.
  • Use a spatula: it makes it much easier to remove the lumps from the mixture.
  • Wet the mould: this will help make it easier to remove the dofu.
  • To store: keep in the fridge covered for up to 4 days.

I hope you get a chance to try this recipe and love it as much as I do!

close up shot of black sesame tofu on a white spoon

More vegan Japanese recipes to try:

piece of sesame tofu on a white plate with sauce on top, bite taken out of it

If you recreate this Black Sesame Tofu recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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piece of sesame tofu on a white plate with sauce on top, bite taken out of it

Black Sesame Tofu

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 6 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


Black sesame tofu made from sesame seeds, starch and dashi is a umami-rich alternative to tofu with a delicate, custard-pudding like texture. Learn how to make this delicate soy-free tofu easily at home!


Units Scale

Black Sesame Tofu

Sweet Miso Sauce


Goma Tofu

  1. Dampen a small dish or small container with some water and set aside.
  2. Add all the ingredients to a small pot or saucepan and whisk until mixed together. Place over medium heat and continue to whisk.
  3. Once it begins to thicken, bring the temperature down to low. Switch to a wooden spoon or heat-safe spatula and continue to stir, smushing down any lumps. As it heats up, continue to stir for about 5 minutes or until it looks blobby, glossy and thick (kinda like gooey pudding).
  4. Pour the mixture into prepared moulds and tap it carefully on your kitchen counter to even out the sides and remove any air bubbles. Cover with a damp cloth or wrap and let it come to room temperature. Then transfer to the fridge to set and chill (about 3 hours).

Miso Sauce

  1. Add all the ingredients to a sauce pan and stir over medium heat. Let it come to a light boil and whisk vigorously until it begins to thicken. Turn off the heat and continue to whisk until caramel-like consistency. Transfer to a jar or container and allow it to cool. 


  1. If using a larger mold, cut into desired serving sizes. If using individual molds, you can eat it straight out of the mold or flip it onto a plate. Top with miso sauce or wasabi and soy sauce and enjoy!


  • Helpful Equipment: sauce pan, whisk, spatula, wooden spoon
  • Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer) without miso sauce. 
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, japanese


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 129
  • Sugar: 0.25g
  • Sodium: 78mg
  • Fat: 8.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 13.4g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 2.8g
  • Cholesterol: 0


gomadofu on a white plate with pinterest text overlayed

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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. Bonjour Lisa ! Super recette merci beaucoup, le miso sucré et le flan au sésame noir sont fort en goût mais ils se marient très bien ensemble ! Une recette très simple et rapide à réaliser en plus ! Et j’aime beaucoup l’originalité, je n’ai vu cette recette nulle part ailleurs, c’est la richesse de ton blog, tu nous sors des sentiers battus j’adore merci !

  2. Do you have a recommendation on how to make black sesame paste? Also white sesame paste- same as tahini?