Tofu Special Part 1 – How to Make Agedashi Tofu

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As part of our recent introduction to Tofu and its nutritional value, we also hope to impart some typical Japanese recipes to help you enjoy the local cuisine, and today we will be attempting to recreate 揚げ出し豆腐 (あげだしとうふ or Agedashi Tofu). This easy yet tantalising dish is simple and quick to prepare and only requires minimal ingredients for truly spectacular results.

The Dish

 Agedashi Tofu (揚げ出し豆腐) is fried or deep-fried cubes of Tofu that lay in a soy and dashi (Japanese fish-based stock) flavoured sauce, topped with a Japanese radish and spring onion garnish.  Although there are multiple variations for the garnish, we’ll explore that later in the recipe.
This particular freshly fried variety of Tofu is a local hit at Izakaya’s (居酒屋 or いざかや), small Japanese bars or bistro’s, and is commonly available as part of most appetizer menus. Its popularity grows even stronger throughout the winter season, due to the warmth offered by its dashi and soy-based saucy broth.
While deep-frying often conjures up images of greasy fast food, there is only a very thin batter around the outside of the Tofu. The soy and dashi sauce combination is light too. The batter is created using 片栗粉 (かたくりこ or Katakuriko), potato starch flour, surrounding the Tofu with a fluffy soft coating. However, if these ingredients are hard to find, we recommend you use cornstarch or plain flour for a slightly different texture yet should produce similar results.

Agedashi Tofu Recipe

The ingredients and quantities provided below are for an estimated 4 servings:

For the Tofu:

  • 1 Pack of Tofu (approx. 400g is enough for 4 servings)
  • Katakuriko (potato starch)*

*As a substitute for potato starch you can also use cornstarch or plain flour

For the Sauce:

  • 2 cups of Dashi (approx. 500ml)*
  • 2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of Mirin
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sake (Japanese rice wine – optional)

*As a substitute for Dashi you can also use any kind of stock (Chicken, Beef, Vegetable, etc)

For the Garnish:

  • Grated Daikon (Japanese radish)
  • Thinly sliced spring onions

Instructions:

Step 1 – Slice the Tofu into 12 cubes of equal size.

Step 2 – To absorb as much moisture as possible from the Tofu, lay a paper towel on either a large plate or tray. Place the individual Tofu slices around the surface of the paper towel, and then cover these with an additional towel on top.  To apply some pressure to the top of the paper towel covering the Tofu, place another tray or object with minimal weight on top, then leave it to sit for 20 minutes.

Step 3 – In the meantime, you can start to prepare the sauce. In a small pot or saucepan, add the Dashi (or stock), Soy Sauce, Mirin and Sake (optional) together, bring to a boil while stirring and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Keep the sauce warm until the Tofu frying is complete.

Step 4 – Remove the dried Tofu and begin to coat with the Katakuriko (potato starch), for best results try to keep an even thin coating around the Tofu by removing any excess flour.

Step 5 – Prepare a saucepan with deep frying oil, and pre-heat on medium to high heat, alternatively you can use a frying pan with a few millimetres of oil lining the base of the skillet. Place each cube carefully into the oil and cook for a couple of minutes, turning each cube once. If frying in a pan, make sure to fry each side of the Tofu in the oil for a couple of minutes or until golden. Finally, remove the fried Tofu cubes from the oil, and distribute evenly into 4 small serving dishes.

Step 6 – Pour even amounts of the warm Soy and Dashi sauce around the side of each small dish.

Step 7 – Finally, garnish the top of the Tofu cubes with finely grated Daikon (Japanese radish), and thinly sliced spring onions. Please note you can also substitute the spring onions for 鰹節 (かつおぶし or Katsuobushi), which are dried, fermented and smoked fish flakes or Bonito flakes.

めしあがれ! (Meshi agare which has a similar meaning to ‘Bon Appétit’)

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