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Agedashi Tofu with Japanese Cabbage Salad

1000008227-01 (1)

Agedashi Tofu is an exquisite Japanese dish.  To me it exemplifies Japanese cuisine.  Simple, yet beautiful, delicate pillowy tofu coated in light crispy shell served with a rich savory broth. I remember the first time I tasted it. It was like an airy crunch followed by a soft explosion in my mouth and the broth was so good that I literally gulped it down! ” Whenever we eat in a Japanese restaurant, especially as vegans, we always order it. Just make sure to ask them to not put any bonito flakes on top  and you are good to go!

What does “Agedashi” mean?

‘Age’ means to deep fry and ‘dashi’ means broth or stock in Japanese. Apparently Agedashi tofu dates back to the mid-Edo period (1603-1868), so this dish has a long tradition.

Are there any special ingredients?

Organic firm tofu works best. Soft is too soft and extra firm too hard.
Kombu is a kelp seaweed that is found in many Japanese popular dishes like miso soup. It gives the broth a deep flavor.
Don’t have any kombu? Use other seaweed like the roasted sheets used for making sushi or kelp granules, or just skip it.
Potato Starch: this starch is super fine and makes the lightest crispy crust. You can also use tapioca starch.
Dried shiitake mushrooms: they used to be only found in Asian stores but now I am seeing them in the Asian section of most grocery stores. They are super cheap and make the best mushroom broth and mushroom bacon! You can also use mushroom granules or powder as a substitute.

Steps to making Agedashi Tofu

  1. Prepare the dashi (seasoned broth):

    This is a fairly simple dish but it is good to prepare the broth first because it is the base for the sauce that will seal the deal! If you plan ahead, you can soak the dried shiitake mushrooms and seaweed the night before. If you are more on the spur of the moment cook (like moi!), you can boil 2 cups of water and pour over the mushrooms and kombu. Let is sit covered for 10 minutes. It will greatly speed up the process! Smell the liquid and you should detect deep umami flavors from the shiitake.
    Note: You may want to make extra and use as the base for soups, stews. It is so good! You will be blown away. Plus there are no additives! Most powder broth have extra ingredients. This way you really get the flavor and none of the other stuff.

    Dashi broth

  2. Prepare the tofu by removing excess moisture in the tofu.

    This can be done a few ways:
    – Wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen towel and gently press.
    – You can also wrap the tofu in a paper towel and microwave it for 1.5 minute.
    – Sprinkle salt over tofu.

  3. Cut into cubes

  4. Coat the tofu

    Agedashi tofu
    This is the first step in making the perfect texture for your tofu. You want to use equal amount of potato starch and AP flour and generously coat each piece on all sides. Use a tupperware or a resealable bag to gently move the starch and not make a mess in the kitchen. Starch will do that if you are not careful!

  5. Heat up the oil

    It takes a while for the oil to get to the right temperature (350F) so a little head start is good. Use a neutral oil like Canola or vegetable oil. Check the temperature with a thermometer or throw a small piece of tofu and see if it immediately sizzles.

  6. Make a starch slurry (double-dipping!)

    This is the second and last step to complete the coating. You are essentially making a light slurry by diluting a small amount of water in some potato starch. This creates a slimy liquid that you will roll the cubes in. You must work quickly because the starch tends to thicken the liquid. Dip the cubes once again in the dry starch before deep frying them. This will create a second coat and guaranty that the cubes will crisp when deep frying. Add more water to keep the slurry more liquid. It will get a little messy going back and forth between the wet and dry mixes. Immediately deep fry them

    Agedashi tofu

  7. Deep fry immediately for 3 minutes, flipping the tofu half way.Agedashi tofu
    Agedashi tofu

    Agedashi Tofu

    Agedashi Tofu is a popular Japanese dish that can be made at home. Lightly crispy tofu squares served with, perfectly seasoned broth make the best appetizer.
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 30 minutes
    Course Appetizer
    Cuisine Japanese


    Dashi broth

    • 4-5 dried shiitake mushrooms
    • 1 piece of kombu seaweed
    • 2 cups hot water
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tbsp mirin
    • pinch salt

    Tofu batter

    • 1 package organic firm tofu
    • 2 tbsp potato starch
    • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
    • pinch salt


    • 1-2 green onions finely chopped
    • 1-2 tbsp finely grated daikon radish (for each serving)

    Cabbage salad

    • 1/2 head of green cabbage finely shredded.
    • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • pinch of salt


    Prepare the broth

    • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Pour over the shiitake mushrooms and kombu seaweed. Cover and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
      Dashi broth
    • Squeeze the mushrooms to get as much liquid as possible and set aside. Remove the kombu.
    • Stir in the soy sauce, rice vinegar, mirin and salt.

    Prepare the tofu

    • Wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen towel. Place a small weight on top to gently remove excess moisture. Set aside for 5 minutes.
    • Cut the tofu into slices or large cubes.

    Prepare the starch

    • Mix 2 tbsp of potato starch with 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour and a pinch of salt in a sealable bag or plastic container with a lid.
      Agedashi tofu
    • Add a few pieces at a time and gently shake to evenly coat the tofu.

    Deep fry the tofu

    • Heat up enough oil to depp fry the tofu. It should be at least 350F.

    Starch Slurry

    • Whisk a tablespoon of potato starch with 3-4 tbsp of water. Work quickly to coat each slice into the liquid batter and cover one more time with the starch and all-purpose flour mix.
    • Repeat with all the tofu cubes. This is process is a little messy but it will create a light airy texture.
    • Immediately deep fry one or two pieces at a time.


    • Place a few cubes in a bowl, and top with finely chopped green onion and grated daikon radish.
    • Pour some of the warm broth over the tofu or keep on the side and serve immediately.

    Cabbage salad

    • Finely shred the cabbage, sprinkle a little salt. Set aside.
    • Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing. Combine with the cabbage and serve topped with chopped green onions.
    Keyword Deep fried appetizer


Looking for other Japanese appetizers? Try OkonomyakiPoached daikon with wasabi mayo.



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