Goma Dofu: How to Enjoy Japanese Sesame Tofu

“Tofu (豆腐)” is a processed soy product known as an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. The soybean curd is commonly used in miso soup, a staple of the Japanese diet, so we eat it almost every day.

Today, tofu is widely enjoyed in many countries around the world, but have you ever heard that in Japan there are foods very similar to tofu in appearance and texture with the word tofu included in their names?

Among those, “Goma Dofu (胡麻豆腐)”, together with Tamago Dofu, is most commonly eaten and is known as one of the vegetarian foods for Buddhist monks called “Shojin Ryori (精進料理)”.

Goma Dofu (胡麻豆腐: Sesame Tofu)

Goma Dofu or Sesame Tofu

As, in the name of Goma Dofu, “Goma (胡麻)” means sesame in Japanese, the tofu-like food is often referred to as sesame tofu in English-speaking countries.

Although sesame tofu includes the word tofu in its name, the food is made from ground sesame seeds and kudzu (arrowroot) starch and actually doesn’t contain soybeans at all.

Production Area

Eiheiji (永平寺)Eiheiji Temple

Goma Dofu is a common food widely enjoyed in Japan and can be bought in supermarkets around the country. In terms of the production area, Nara and Wakayama Prefectures are especially famous for their sesame tofu.

In fact, Goma Dofu makes up an indispensable part of the Shojin Ryori served at Buddhist temples on Mt. Koya, Wakayama. The mountain is a holy site of the Shingon sect of Buddhism which was inscribed as World Heritage Site of Unesco in 2004.

As with the ones of Nara and Wakayaka, the Goma Dofu produced and sold around the “Eiheiji (永平寺)” temple in Eiheiji Town, Fukui also has an established reputation. Eiheiji is one of the headquarter temples of the Soto Zen sect, by the way.

How to Eat 

Goma Dofu is eaten in different ways from ordinary soybean tofu, and the followings are the basic ways of eating sesame tofu favored by many of us Japanese.

As a Side Dish

Goma Dofu with Soy Sauce and Wasabi

Goma Dofu is usually eaten on its own and is not used in other dishes, because it has a distinctive strong flavor from the contained sesame oil. When eating, like cold tofu, it is typically dressed with soy sauce and garnished with wasabi.

As a Dessert

Goma Dofu with Kinako and KuromitsuImage: FC2 Blog

By dousing it with “Kuromitsu (黒蜜)” black syrup or honey, and dusting with “Kinako (きな粉)” roasted soybean flour, you can enjoy Goma Dofu as a dessert, which is something like Bavarian cream.

With Sweet Miso

Goma Dofu with Sweet Miso

Goma Dofu pairs perfectly with sweet miso too (e.g. a mixture of miso and mirin). The miso topped sesame tofu is something like a cross between dish and dessert.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia 胡麻豆腐 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

4 Responses

  1. Nancy Cadet says:

    Thanks. That was a great introduction to goma dofu and the most popular ways to serve it.

    I wonder if it must be kept in the refrigerator. How long is it edible or safe to eat after you make it?

    • Tomo says:

      Thank you for the comment!

      Actually, goma dofu comes in 2 types: one is made from sesame seeds and kudzu arrowroot powder, while the other has the addition of starches other than kudzu.

      When you have the former type, you have to eat it as soon as possible in a couple of days, because the sesame tofu is unsuitable for refrigerated storage. Therefore, right before you eat it, chill the sesame tofu in the refrigerator for one or two hours.

      Regarding the latter type, whether the sesame tofu should be refrigerated or not and how long the food can be preserved depend on the variety of the starches used in the sesame tofu.

  1. August 9, 2017

    […] Sesame Tofu is a Tofu-like food that is made by crushing sesame seeds,then boiling in water and chilling like tofu.(I wrote about Sesame Tofu in my past article) […]

  2. August 9, 2017

    […] Sesame Tofu is a Tofu-like food that is made by crushing sesame seeds,then boiling in water and chilling like tofu.(I wrote about Sesame Tofu in my past article) […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: