Agedashi Dofu: Japanese Fried Tofu in a Dashi-Based Sauce

Agedashi Dofu: Japanese Fried Tofu in a Dashi-Based Sauce

The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

Agedashi dofu, or agedashi tofu, is a traditional Japanese tofu dish that is a popular appetizer you can find in restaurants. It is deep fried tofu with a crispy crust formed by a potato starch coating. It is typically served with toppings such as grated daikon, katsuobushi (bonito flakes), scallion, nori, or grated ginger and a sauce that soaks into the tofu. You can make it a little spicier by adding shichimi togarashi.

A great agedashi tofu is like warm custard. It melts on your tongue into a creamy pool of savory dashi, or stock, lightly accented by the garnishes. The magic is in the way the coating absorbs the flavorful dashi as it seasons the tofu. At the same time, it releases residual oil into the broth, imparting a hint of richness without being greasy.

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Watch Now: Simple Agedashi Tofu Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 14-ounce blocks soft tofu
  • 1 cup dashi soup stock
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 5 tablespoons katakuriko potato starch (separated)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (fresh and grated)
  • Optional: bonito flakes for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Agedashi Dofu: Japanese Fried Tofu in a Dashi-Based Sauce ingredients

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  2. Wrap the tofu with paper towels, and place it on a flat tray. Put a cutting board or a flat plate on top of the tofu, and let sit for about 15 minutes.

    tofu wrapped with paper towels

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  3. Meanwhile, put dashi, soy sauce, and mirin in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.

    dashi, soy sauce, and mirin in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  4. Mix 1 tablespoon katakuriko potato starch with 1 tablespoon water.

    katakuriko potato starch mixed with water in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  5. Add the katakuriko mixture to the sauce, and stir quickly. Stop the heat.

    starch mixed into the sauce in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  6. Dry the tofu with paper towels, and cut each tofu piece in half.

    tofu on top of paper towels

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  7. Dust the tofu with 4 tablespoons of katakuriko to coat the pieces completely.

    tofu dusted with katakuriko starch

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  8. Heat oil to 350 F in a deep pot.

    pot with oil

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  9. Deep-fry the tofu pieces until they turn light brown. Drain on paper towels.

    fried tofu on top of paper towels

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

  10. Place each fried tofu piece in a small dish and pour the sauce over it.

  11. Garnish with grated ginger and bonito flakes, if using.

    Agedashi Dofu: Japanese Fried Tofu in a Dashi-Based Sauce, garnished with grated ginger and bonito flakes

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

Cooking Tips

Agedashi dofu is pretty easy to get wrong. At its worst, it comes out soggy and greasy, smothered in a cloying teriyaki sauce. Here are some cooking tips to get it right:

  • It is essential to use fresh oil. Agedashi tofu has a very delicate flavor profile and if you use old oil, it will end up greasy, tasting like all the things that have been fried in the oil before.
  • The temperature of the oil should be relatively high. This ensures that the coating fries up crisp without frying the tofu itself.
  • The coating needs to be potato starch. Cornstarch just isn't the same. After soaking in the dashi, the potato starch will lose its crispness, but it absorbs the dashi in the process, creating a flavorful, nearly transparent skin.
  • Use soft tofu. Firm tofu just doesn't have the same satiny texture of soft tofu and will leave you chewing a dish that should melt away in your mouth.
  • Instead of just draining and drying the surface of the tofu before frying, salt the tofu as well. This does two things. The first is that it helps rid the tofu of extra water better than just draining it. The second is that it lightly seasons the tofu. This allows you to make the dashi less salty so you can enjoy it as a soup along with the tofu.

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