Deep fried tofu is a vegetarian, warm dish, that is usually eaten with a dip sauce.  It is very rich in proteins, calcium, potassium and iron. Its taste and texture are different from just boiled tofu, as the outside is crispy and the deep frying has impaired some additional taste. The dish does contain some oil of course, which should be kept in mind.

The art of making deep fried tofu

Deep fried tofu is best made from firm or extra firm tofu. Using soft tofu causes the structure to be lost during the frying process.

As tofu essentially consists of coagulated soy milk, tofu still contains a lot of water.  This is the reason that deep fried tofu loses its crispiness upon standing. So deep fried tofu should be served right after taking it out of the deep fryer.

The crispiness can be enhanced and the oil uptake reduced.  But then we need to soak the tofu pieces in salty water for 15 min. Thereafter we pat it dry with  kitchen paper or a kitchen towel.  The salt extracts water and also penetrates the tofu somewhat. The tofu blocks are coated with starch just before deep frying. I use tapioca flour, which is almost pure starch and does not contain gluten. This enhances the crispiness further.

Special equipment

For the deep frying use either: a wok, a deep-fryer or a shallow sauce pan. A strainer comes in handy to lower the tofu pieces and to remove them.

deep fried tofu ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Deep-fried tofu

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 2


Before the deep-frying

  • 1 lb (450 g) firm tofu
  • 1.5 tbsp salt
  • 1 pint (0.45 L) water
  • 5 tbsp tapioca flour

Deep frying and serving

  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • handful sliced spring onions



  • Cut the tofu in pieces of 0.7x0.7x0.7 inch (2x2x2 cm)
  • Dissolve the salt in the water
  • Immerse the tofu in the salt water for 15 min
  • Thereafter take the pieces out and dry them with a kitchen towel
  • While heating the oil for the deep frying, coat the tofu pieces with the tapioca flour

Deep-frying and serving

  • When the oil has reached 180 C, immerse half of the tofu pieces in the oil and fry until the pieces have become golden brown. It may be necessary to stir them around once or twice
  • Take the pieces out of the oil and drain on a paper kitchen towel.
  • garnish with the sesame seeds and the spring onions
  • Immediately thereafter: serve


Method: deep-frying
Food allergy & intolerance information: soy
Keyword deep frying, tofu


Sauces that can accompany the deep fried tofu are numerous. I like sweet and sour chili sauce, just light soy sauce or celery salt to accompany the fried tofu. Others prefer a peanut sauce, a ginger scallion sauce of chili paste or sambal.

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