Japanese Fried Tofu (Agedashi Tofu or Agedashi Dofu) is one of the a-la-carte dishes you always find on the menu at Japanese restaurants. It is delicate and simple but so yummy. The sweet soy sauce-based dashi goes so well with deep fried tofu. It looks tricky to make but actually it is quite easy.
Use vegetarian dashi stock for the sauce to make the dish vegetarian.
Add the Sauce ingredients to a small pot and heat over high heat. When it stats boiling, turn the heat off and put it aside.
Take the tofu out of the pack gently and cut it in half lengthwise, then into 3 crosswise, making 6 thin blocks.
Wrap each tofu block in kitchen paper and press gently but firmly to remove excess moisture. Be careful not to break the tofu. Place tofu pieces on a plate.
Place cornflour in a shallow plate and roughly spread.
Heat the oil in a deep pot or a pan to 170C (338F) (note 4). The depth of the oil should be minimum 5cm (2”).
Place tofu and cornflour plates next to the deep-frying pan. Taking one piece of tofu at a time, coat the tofu with cornflour ensuring that all sides of the tofu are coated with cornflour.
Gently place the tofu in the oil. You can fry as many of the tofu pieces as you can fit in at once but do not over crowd. I fried them in two batches, i.e. 3 at a time.
Fry for 2 minutes. Turn it over and fry for further 2 minutes or until the surface stars getting very light brown. Remove onto kitchen paper.
If the sauce has cooled, warm it up. Place 3 fried tofu pieces in each bowl. Pour the sauce over the tofu.
Squeeze water out of 1 tablespoon each of grated daikon by pinching it with two fingers and a thumb, shaping into a small mountain. Place it on the tofu pile.
1. One pack of tofu I used was 300g (10.6oz).
Firm silken tofu is slightly harder than silken tofu. I sometimes use momen tofu (or regular tofu) which is much easier to handle since the texture is harder than firm silken tofu. You can use either type but I think that firm silken tofu presents a more delicate texture.
Silken tofu (kinugoshi-dofu) is too soft and easy to break. Firm tofu and hard tofu are not suitable.
2. You don’t have to have all the toppings in the ingredients but grated daikon and shallots are the most common agedashi tofu toppings. Sometimes, bonito flakes are also used.
3. Okra is also called ladies’ fingers. I happened to have some and I like it very much so I added it to decorate. You could have boiled beans or snow peas instead.
Before boiling okra, make a small incision on the side so that the pod does not explode when boiled.
Okra becomes slimy when boiled. Japanese people enjoy this slimy texture. I sometimes boil okra, slice crosswise thinly, mix with bonito flakes and a small amount of soy sauce and eat them with hot rice. They are great.
4. To check the temperature of the oil without a thermometer, use one of the following.
a. Drop small bits of breadcrumb into the oil. The bits will sink half way and then come up with small bubbles around them.
b. Stick a pair of bamboo chopsticks into the oil. Small bubbles appear around the chopsticks and come up constantly.