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Home-made Atsuage (Deep Fried Tofu)
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
25 mins

Atsuage (Deep Fried Tofu) is a very popular ingredient among Japanese people as a cheap source of protein. The outside is puffy and crunchy but inside is a smooth, silky tofu. Atsuage is excellent to eat on its own or cook with other vegetables.

Prep Time includes the time to drain the water out of the tofu.

Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.

Serves: 2
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
  • 300g/10.6oz fresh tofu (1pack, note 1)
  • Oil to deep fry
Topping (note 2)
  • Finely chopped shallots/scallions
  • Grated ginger
  1. Slice the tofu horizontally into half. It should make 2 pieces of about 2-2.5cm/¾-1" thick block (note 3).

  2. Place a clean kitchen towel or kitchen paper on a cutting board and place the tofu pieces on it. Cover the tofu pieces with another kitchen towel/paper, then on top of it, place a tray with a small weight or a flat large plate upside down.

  3. Place something underneath one end of the cutting board to tilt the board and positon the board so that the excess water drains into the sink. Leave it for 10-15 minutes.

  4. Fill a saucepan or a frying pan with oil and heat to about 175C/347F. The depth of the oil needs to be 3-4cm/1¼-1½“as a minimum.

  5. Pat dry a tofu slice with kitchen paper, place the tofu on a slotted metal spatula or a flat sieve spoon and gently slide it into the oil. Lots of bubbles will rise up because the tofu contains water, but they will settle down.

  6. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the outside of the tofu becomes firm and lightly browned. Turn it over half way using the spatula/sieve spoon.
  7. Using the spatula/sieve spoon, transfer the tofu to a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.

  8. Cut the in half lengthwise. Then cut it crosswise into four, making 8 small blocks in total.

  9. Plate the atsuage, topped with shallots and ginger. Serve while hot with soy sauce (note 4).

  10. To eat, pour the soy sauce over the toppings and atsuage.

Recipe Notes

1. Silken tofu or momen tofu is best suited for making atsuage. Silken tofu is slightly more difficult to handle due to the delicate texture of the tofu. If difficult, make smaller blocks of silken tofu but retain 2.5cm/1" thickness.

2. It is OK to eat atsuage without topping but I find that adding at least one topping makes it tastier. Other popular toppings include grated daikon and julienned Japanese perilla.

3. Depending on the brand, the thickness of the tofu block varies. The ideal thickness of the tofu for making atsuage is 2.5cm/1". My tofu was just over 4cm/1⅝" thick, which was a bit too thin to make two slices of ideal thickness.

To show you the ideal atsuage size, I sliced the tofu into a 2.5cm/1" thick. I ate the leftover as chilled tofu.

But you can make two slices of slightly thinner atsuage.

4. Serving options:

a. As per the recipe instruction, eat atsuage while it is hot with toppings such as finely chopped shallots/scallions, grated ginger,  julienned shiso (Japanese perilla) or bonito flakes, etc.
b. At room temperature with the toppings mentioned above.
c. Grill on the BBQ, grill pan or frying pan to warm up – great when atsuage is chilled in the fridge. Cook at low heat until the centre of the tofu becomes warm. Eat with toppings mentioned above.
d. Stir-fry with other ingredients – see Stir-fried Choy Sum with Deep Fried Thick Tofu.
e. Simmer with other ingredients – see Kanazawa-style Simmered Chicken and Tofu (Jibuni).
f. Add to miso soup to give the soup an extra volume.

5. Nutrition per serving, not including toppings and soy sauce. Assumed that oil absorption rate is 3%. 

serving: 155g calories: 164kcal fat: 12g (18%) saturated fat: 1.7g (9%) trans fat: 0.0g polyunsaturated fat: 4.8g monounsaturated fat: 5.2g cholesterol: 0mg (0%) sodium: 6mg (0%) potassium: 195mg (6%) carbohydrates: 1.8g (1%) dietary fibre: 1.5g (6%) sugar: 1.1g protein: 15g vitamin a: 0% vitamin c: 0% calcium: 33% iron: 17 %