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
- Sharp Knife
- Cutting board
- Small pot or Deep fryer
- Slotted spoon or tongs
- Serving dishes
- 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
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
- The easiest and cleanest way to dip our tofu is to place about 1 cup of cornstarch in a zip-lock type bag.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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!