Za’atar Tofu

On Thursday evening after two dance classes I was pretty hungry, and Heikki was at a somewhat early Christmas party. Luckily this dinner didn’t take me more than about 10 minutes to make. I had marinated the tofu earlier the same day, instant cous cous cooked in a few minutes – and the Ajvar yogurt sauce was ready as quick as can be.


Za’atar is a spice mix, eaten especially in Lebanon and Syria, and usually contains thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac. Sumac is slightly pungent and sharp in taste, and gives za’atar its special flavor. The owner of our local Middle Eastern food store, Al-Marwan on Fleminginkatu, told us that za’atar is often simply eaten on some pizza dough with olive oil. Obviously, it is not traditionally eaten with tofu, but there’s no tradition without invention!

Tofu marinade:

  • 3 teaspoons za’atar
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste (or other chili)
  • 1 big clove garlic, pressed

I sliced 500 g of tofu and wrapped it in a kitchen towel. Then, I placed a small tray on top of the pile of tofu slices, put two chick pea cans on top of the tray, and let them press the tofu while I was making the marinade.


For the marinade, I just mixed all the ingredients together. I cut the tofu in strips, and layered them in a container, spooning marinade between each layer. Then I closed the lid and shook the container until each piece of tofu was covered in marinade.

I refrigerated the tofu for 8 hours or so, and then fried on a high heat until browned. Delicious!

Ajvar yogurt sauce:

Just mix together and serve:

  • 2 dl plain unsweetened soy yogurt
  • two teaspoons of Ajvar sauce
  • a clove of garlic, pressed
  • and a pinch of sugar, salt, and black pepper to taste.