October 4, 2004

a taste of home (or one of them)

Saturday, October 2

I wonder how many time I have mentioned this, but I hate deep-frying. Okay, just to make sure that you know. It is usually a minor thing, but there are things that I do crave for sometimes (like doughnuts), and this time it was agedashi-dofu, or crispy fried tofu cubes (I was mildly impressed that Wikipedia has an entry for this not-so-famous Japanese dish, and basically what you read here is what you get).

The other day I was browsing around websites and blogs I came across a topic about making agedashi-dofu without deep-frying. The concept is, like a lot of other alternative ways to deep-fry, just frying tofu in a smaller amount of oil than for deep-frying; this will have the same effect as deep-frying only on the surface of the ingredients and will not cook them thoroughly as they are not entirely immersed in the oil, but for things like tofu that doesn't need to cook thoroughly, this will be enough. That's a fantastic idea, I thought, and of course decided to try that out myself.

We'd definitely use potato starch to dust tofu cubes, but today I used corn starch, and it seemed to have worked fine. While Since I only made a few using leftover tofu, I wanted to add something along them, so made shiso-tempura (or something like it) as well. Somehow, making tempura of shiso leaves made me feel like that I was really doing deep-frying, probably because of the smell of tempura batter fried in a lot of oil... this always gives me almost heartburn, before even actually eating the stuff I am cooking. I wished I hadn't done this at all.

But once I served agedashi-dofu with ponzu, or soy-sauce-based sauce flavored with citrus juice, and garnished with a bit of grated fresh ginger, chopped spring onions and Japanese sansho pepper, I found myself having wolfed everything down with freshly cooked Japanese rice.

It would have been even better if the tofu had been softer (I usually like firm tofu better, but for this particular dish softer kinds work better) and there had been daikon-oroshi, or finely grated daikon radish, but Oh that was so much of a taste of home, really.


obachan said...


I’ve never tried sansho with agedashi-dofu before, but it sure sounds like a good idea.

At the Izakaya I work, we serve agedashi-dofu in hot ten-tsuyu with momiji oroshi and kizami nori. Female customers seem to love this. : )

Anonymous said...

hello Chika,
do you remember which website it was for the recipe? Or how much oil do you use?
I love agedashi tofu as well , and despise frying!!!

Santos said...

hi chika

looks so tasty! i never think to make agedashi-dofu at home, i think because of the deep frying of tofu--wouldn't want something too dry, but after trying to deep dry wine, i'm not willing to fry anything too moist.

it's funny because i thought it was not the most well-known japanese dish on the mainland, but it's the no.1 fave of all my haole friends, so maybe it's gaining popularity.

chika said...

Hi there,

obachan - I know, I know, I know!! agedashi-dofu with momiji-oroshi and ten-tsuyu... how I wish I could have it NOW!

Seine - I do remember the webiste I got the idea from, but it is in Japanese - here is the one. Well, it wasn't really a structured recipe, but all you need to do basically is to cut tofu into 1-2" cubes, dust them evenly with starch (it doesn't have to be a thick layer, but you do need to do this on all the sides), and fry in a heated oil (I used sesame oil + sunflower oil), probably a couple of tablespoonful. The amount of oil will really depend on how deep your skillet is, and how much tofu you are cooking, but about as much as the oil keeps sizzling throughout the cooking. Hope this could help...

Santos - if you make sure the tofu cubes are entirely covered with starch, it should be okay...

and yeah, agedashi-dofu should get more publicity in here! I claim!

Anonymous said...

I have become addicted to your food experiments. The first time I had fried tofu cubes was on a small sailboat on Canada pacific coast. The coating was delicious but entirely different from yours. It was a mixture of Brewer Yeast, Garlic powder and salt. 

Posted by pene

dinnerware said...

I had this dish in Tokio, but never thought of making it myself. The picture looks so elegant.  

Posted by dinnerware