Introduction: Agedashi Tofu

When we moved from Vancouver to a small rural town in northern British Columbia we new certain things wouldn't be as easily available anymore.  Its funny how you take certain things for granted living in a large city, like a good bowl of Agedashi you begin to miss certain things pretty quick.  Sure we could get them to do something similar where they toss deep fried tofu into a  chop-suey, but that was the extent of what they were willing to do for us at the local Chinese take-out.  The only solution, make our own.

Agedashi is a medium firm tofu that is briefly tossed in cornstarch and immediately plunged in hot peanut oil.  It comes out light and crispy on the outside and soft and creamy on the inside.  You would have it served  swimming in a bowl of soya spiked Dashi or as we like to have it with the sauce on the side.  That way you would dip the hot crispy tofu into the sauce, rather then the outside getting soggy as it slowly drowns.  From start to finish this dish takes about 10 minutes if that.  When I made this last night taking the pictures really slowed me down, mostly because I was trying to avoid getting cornstarch in my camera!

Oddly enough this dish is great for newbies to tofu, all though by itself it is rather bland, when you dip it, it soaks up the sauce like a sponge.  I am a meat eater through and through, and to be honest this is the only way I'll eat tofu.  Most meat eaters agree, once they have it they love it, the only problem with this dish is how addicting it is.  A month from the first time you have it, you'll wake up in the middle of the night suddenly craving it.  Resist going down to the kitchen in the middle of the night: sleep-deep frying never turns out well.


Step 1: Tools and Supplies

Tools
  • Sharp Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Small pot or Deep fryer
  • Slotted spoon or tongs
  • Serving dishes
  •  
Supplies
  • Medium firm tofu
  • Peanut oil
  • Corn starch
  • Japanese soya sauce, once you use it regular soya suace just isn't the same anymore
  • Dashi, If you do not have Dashi then use Tempura dipping sauce (easier to find)
  • Mirin (sushi vinegar)
  • little water
  • bonito flakes

Step 2: Mix

The sauce is oh so simple

In a bowl or small pot mix
  • 1/8 cup soya sauce
  • 1/8 cup dashi or tempura dipping sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon bonita flake
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3-4 chives finely sliced

Heat on the stove till almost boiling or microwave for a minute - that's it

Step 3: Slice

While your sauce is heating up, slice your tofu into cube - baton like shapes, about 1" x 3/4" x 2".

Some recipes say to leave this to drain for 10-15 minutes.  Personally I find it best to let it sit for no longer then 5 minutes, just long enough to pour an inch of peanut oil into the bottom of your pot and heat it up.  So go do that, heat that oil! Medium high heat is fine.

Step 4: Dip & Fry

This goes quite quickly and as a safety note, you are deep frying after all, please be careful or your gonna get burned!

You should have your oil good and hot - 355°F (180°C)  If you don't have a thermometer ready do what we did at Kam Fung - (local dim-sum place I worked at when I lived in Montreal), dip a bamboo chopstick or or spoon in the hot oil.  When the oil is hot, you will see a fine mist of bubbles streaming out of the wood
 

  1. The easiest and cleanest way to dip our tofu is to place about 1 cup of cornstarch in a zip-lock type bag.
  2. Add a single piece of tofu into the cornstarch, lightly toss to coat, brush off the excess and toss in the hot oil.  DO NOT BUILD UP A STACK OF DIPPED TOFU! The cornstarch will just peal off the bottom of the tofu in layers, also what did stick to the tofu will now be leathery instead of light and crispy.
  3. Keep going, dipping and frying.  In a pot that is about 6 inches across I would have no more then 5 pieces of tofu cooking at any one time.  More then that and you will be dropping the temperature of the oil too much = soggy tofu
  4. As they are cooked the ends of the tofu will darken up a bit more then the sides, see the pictures to get what i mean.  When they are done they will be a very light golden brown.
  5. transfer to your serving bowl or plate.  My wife prefers to dip hers, rather then putting them in the bowl with the sauce.  They stay crispier longer that way!

Step 5: Nom Nom Nom, Goes Your Mouth

For plating feel free to add some sesame seeds to the broth/sauce or some red rooster chilli sauce to kick it up a notch.  Like I have said before traditionally the tofu is floated in a bowl of the sauce, but we like to dip the crunchy tofu into the sauce, nom nom nom like tofu eating zombies!

Comments

author
calligator (author)2012-09-30

This is one of my favourite dishes EVER and is only list of things to cook once I can actually find some proper dashi!

author

Have also been doing this with paneer, its awesome

author
violentorchid (author)2011-05-25

At my job, in a sushi restaurant, they use tempura batter; but, cornstarch sounds so much easier.

author

Really? traditionally they use corn and quite often potato starch. I'm sure the tempura would work as well, especially since you probably have it on hand with all the tempura yam and the what not.

author

They had corn?!? o.O

author

Most fried items that I'm aware of in Japan are not ancient things, but adaptations based on imported foods. So maybe "traditionally" could be replaced with "typically."

author

I don't think so, but like so many things that have been adopted over the years its some to be common. Other fine similar starches would have been available, like potato, arrow root, taro, etc... don't quote me on the exact one though. Think of Bird's custard, when the British had a colony in Hong-Kong various British things were assimilated into the locals diet. Birds custard powder was and still is used in many Chinese and Japanese restaurants in soups, deserts and as a thickener.

author
mdeblasi1 (author)2011-05-31

I don't get the part about the "compressed end" am I completely missing something in the directions? When and how was part of the tofu compressed?

author

Whooooops, sorry for the miscommunication! When you buy tofu from a grocery store, most of the time it will have at least one edge that was in the mold when the tofu was made. This is the compressed edge, it will look like tofu that has been squiched up against something. Sometimes you will see almost like a skin on the surface of the tofu, it will be quite smooth, or even look like it has an impression from cheesecloth. These pressed sides look different when fried, tehy go a little darker in colour then do the ones from your own knife.

author
shesparticular (author)2011-05-29

This is one of my favorite ways to have tofu! Sometimes we also marinate it before coating it in cornstarch, but it's awesome as is also.

author

Us too! with the marinating, what i found that was key was to dip them in the cornstarch and then as quickly as possible plunge them into the oil. Normally with breadings and coatings you would let it sit to set the coating, with this its the opposite

author
suayres (author)2011-05-26

Mirin is actually rice wine, NOT rice wine vinegar. Rice wine vinegar (or rice vinegar) is just that. Oh, and mirin is seasoned wine (seasoned with salt, & i think sugar), so I wouldn't drink it.....

author
iminthebathroom (author)suayres2011-05-26

Whoops, can't believe I didn't notice that. I'm torn though a little as I have always used the seasoned rice wine vinegar instead of Mirin for this dish... I think I will keep the recipe as is but note the substitute

author
mikeasaurus (author)2011-05-25

a regular order for me, too.
along with miso, this is a staple of simple Japanese cuisine.

author

exactly, oddly enough a Japanese restaurant opened up here, yet they look at me like I'm crazy when I ask them to make it, ah well. That's why we make it at home all the time now.

author

I read in your project that you ask the Chinese take-out to make these for you; funny that the Japanese place gives you the crazy look. Go figure.

author

yup, they have a small sushi menu, trying to capitalize on other venues I guess

author
violentorchid (author)2011-05-25

If you have bonito flakes then you can make your own dashi, dashi is just a fish stock soup made with bonito flakes, or katsuobushi. But mainly it's the bonito, so you can get away it making stock out of it.

Wikipedia says:
Dashi:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashi
"The most common form of dashi is a simple broth or stock made by heating water containing kombu (edible kelp) and kezurikatsuo (shavings of katsuobushi - preserved, fermented tuna) to near-boiling, then straining the resultant liquid."

Bonito:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonito

Hope that helps!

author

Yes! another way I used to do it for the vegetarians was similar. We would boil dried kelp and then use that with miso, sweetened mirin and a touch of soya.

author
violentorchid (author)2011-05-25

Also, shredded ginger, radish (daikon), and minced green onion are great with it... I leave you alone now. XD

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