Some people wrinkle their noses at the suggestion of tofu. It’s bland, they say. But it’s only bland if you don’t know how to cook it. In a good recipe, tofu becomes healthy comfort food.
So today’s tip is to try one of these recipes for tofu fritters—hot comfort food on a cold day. If you decide you like it, great: It’s an inexpensive, lower-calorie and earth-friendly source of protein.
Short for agedashi tofu and pronounced AH-gay DOE-foo (in transliteration, tofu is sometimes dofu), these hot tofu fritters have us hooked. Silken tofu is cut into cubes, which are lightly dusted with potato starch or cornstarch and deep fried until golden brown. The result is a crisp outside with a creamy, soft inside.
The tofu is served with a hot tentsuyu broth (dashi, mirin and and soy sauce)—sometimes coming to the table in a pool of broth-like sauce, sometimes with the broth served on the side. The tofu arrives garnished with finely chopped green onion, grated daikon, dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and sometimes grated ginger.
The tofu soaks up the broth, and along with the garnishes, becomes a complex layering of delicate flavors. If you like spicy, you can add shichimi togarashi, a blend of seven spices including hot red pepper (togarishi) and sansho pepper pods.
One of our favorite comfort foods: age tofu. Photo courtesy JustOneCookbook.com.
This recipe is adapted from JustOneCookbook.com, where you can see the step-by-step preparation in photos. Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 15 minutes.
RECIPE: AGE TOFU (AGEDASHI TOFU)
Ingredients For 3 Servings
Alexander’s Tofu Fritters. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy House Foods
1. DRAIN the tofu by wrapping it in 3-4 layers of paper towels and placing the block on a plate. Place a flat plate on top of the tofu for 15 minutes to squeeze the liquid out.
2. CUT the green onion into thin slices. Peel and grate the daikon.
3. ADD the dashi, soy sauce and mirin to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and set aside. Remove the tofu from the paper towels and cut tofu into 8 cubes.
4. HEAT 1½ inch of the oil in a deep fryer to 350°F (175°C). Coat the tofu with potato starch/cornstarch and deep fry until the cubes turn light brown and crispy. Remove from the fryer with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil.
5. PLACE the cubes in a shallow individual bowls and top with the garnishes. Pour the sauce into the dish or serve on the side.
RECIPE: ALEXANDER’S TOFU FRITTERS
This recipe is from Alexander Weiss, season one winner of “MasterChef Junior,” FOX’s hit cooking competition series for kids. Alexander makes tofu fritters with a different flavor profile: smoked paprika, chili flakes and red bell peppers.
1. PREHEAT 3-4 inches of oil to 325°F in large pot or deep fryer.
2. CHAR/BURN the skin of the peppers on all sides over a gas burner on high heat. Once done, cover the peppers in a heatproof bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to steam. Rub the peppers under cold water to remove the skin. Remove the core, seeds and white membrane and dice into small cubes. Set aside.
3. MASH the tofu with fork in large bowl. Whisk to smooth the tofu; then mix in the baking powder and flour until well combined. Add the milk and beat until smooth. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Fold in corn, peppers, scallions and chili flakes with spatula.
4. DROP the batter into the fryer using a 1½-inch ice cream scoop or two spoons. Fry for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season as needed with more salt and pepper, and serve with a dipping sauce.
5. DIPPING SAUCE: We whisked the recipe ingredients—chili flakes, paprika and scallions, salt and pepper—plus a spoonful of tomato paste, into plain Greek yogurt.