One of my favorite appetizers when dining at a Japanese restaurant is Agedashi Tofu. I cannot get enough of the soft, silky tofu with a light and crispy outer shell, swimming in a sweet, savory, umami rich sauce. On the days when I’m craving something light, I turn to Agedashi Tofu as my main course. Loads of protein to keep me full without weighing me down.
Deep frying at home isn’t always the most ideal way to cook. It can get messy and then you have a pot of hot oil to deal with afterwards. I try to avoid deep frying at home as much as possible. Fortunately, this Agedashi Tofu recipe works just as well if you shallow fry the tofu. I still use a deep pot to contain splatters, but I only add about an inch of oil, just enough so that the tofu is half submerged in oil. When the bottom of the tofu is golden brown, give it a flip and brown the other side.
- 1 16 oz block of soft or medium-firm tofu, cut into 2x2x1 inch pieces
- ¼ cup potato starch
- 2 cups deep frying oil, peanut, canola, or sunflower seed oil
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small pot.
- Simmer over medium heat until it has reduced by about ⅓. You should have about 1 cup of liquid remaining.
- Begin by removing some of the liquid from the tofu. Carefully remove the tofu from the packaging and place it on a plate lined with a few layers of paper towels. Place a few more sheets of paper towels on top of the tofu, then put another plate on top. Add some weight to the top plate. A couple cans of vegetables work perfectly. Leave the tofu under the weight for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a medium sized pot to about 340° F.
- While the oil is coming to temperature, dry the tofu with a fresh paper towel and cut into 2"x2"x1" pieces.
- Once the oil has reached 340° F, it's time to dredge the tofu. Put the potato starch in a bowl or plate. Roll each piece of tofu in the starch on all sides until well coated. Dust off any excess starch and set it aside. We want a very, very light coating.
- Once you have a few tofu pieces dredged, put them gently into the oil and fry on both sides until golden brown. It is important to fry the tofu immediately after it has been coated.
- When the tofu is golden brown, remove from the oil and place on a rack or paper towels to drain out the excess oil.
- Serve immediately in small individual dishes and carefully pour a couple of tablespoons of the sauce you made earlier into the side of the dish to maintain the crispy outer shell of the tofu. Top with dried bonito flakes, scallions, and/or grated daikon.