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It’s the textures of this dish that get me. By using potato starch, the light, crisp coating on the outside and the ultra-silky and smooth tofu on the inside are enhanced by a slightly gooey transition between the two. Immersed in a flavourful broth I could drink from the bowl, this is a real treat. For simplicity’s sake, I shallow-fry my agedashi tofu – it uses less oil, requires less clean up, and tastes just as good. And don’t fret if you can’t find katakuriko (potato starch), cornstarch will do.

Agedashi tofu garnished with green onions and katsuobushi (bonito flakes)

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • ½ block medium-firm tofu, well-drained
  • ½ cup of katakuriko (potato starch) or cornstarch
  • about ¼ tsp salt, to taste
  • about ¼ tsp ground white or black pepper, to taste
  • vegetable oil for frying

Dashi tsuyu (broth)

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp. of dashi powder*
  • 3 Tbsp. shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp. mirin

Garnish (optional)

  • katsuobushi (bonito flakes)
  • grated daikon (scroll to the “Variations” section to find instructions)


  1. Drain the tofu. On a cutting board or plate, sandwich tofu between layers of folded paper towel or dishcloth, and place a cutting board or plate on top to weigh it down. Leave for at least 30 minutes, or ideally, 60 minutes. Change the paper towel partway through to allow tofu to drain further. This makes the tofu firmer and easier to handle, but retains its smooth texture.
  2. Prepare the dashi. Boil the water and add the dashi powder, shoyu and mirin. Adjust with more shoyu or mirin (or sugar if you like it sweeter) to taste, if you like. Turn off and set aside with the lid on. You’ll want this to be warm, but not boiling when serving.
  3. Cut the tofu and season the starch. Cut tofu into individual, bite-sized pieces. 2-3cm cubes are nice, but you can go larger if you like. Then, on a plate or in a shallow bowl, mix the katakuriko or cornstarch, salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat the oil. To shallow-fry, pour oil to a depth of about 1mm in a large, flat frying pan, and pre-heat the oil on medium-high heat. You’ll know the oil is ready when you can dip your wooden chopsticks in the oil and it starts to sizzle.
  5. Dredge and fry the tofu. When the oil is hot, dredge tofu in the starch (covering all sides) and immediately place in the pan, frying each side for about 1-2 minutes, until golden and crisp. Adjust the heat as you go – the tofu should sizzle on contact with the oil, but not blacken right away. If your pan is small, you may need to make a few batches, dredging each batch of tofu just before frying, and adding extra oil (or even replacing old, dark oil) between batches.
  6. Drain and serve. Place tofu on paper towel to drain any excess oil while you finish frying up subsequent batches. Place a few pieces in individual small bowls, pour in a puddle of the dashi tsuyu, and garnish with your favourite topping.

Good to Know:

  • This recipe calls for 1 cup of dashi, because it’s hard to make smaller quantities. But 1 cup of dashi will suffice for up to 4 times as much tofu.
  • When frying Japanese foods, always use a light vegetable oil like canola oil, as more flavourful fats like olive oil or animal fats will overpower the taste of the ingredients.

Agedashi Tofu Variations

Ponzu and green onion garnish

Out of time or just don’t feel like making dashi tsuyu? Fry the tofu, and dress it with a splash of ponzu and top with some finely sliced green onion to garnish. Extremely simple. Extremely delicious.

Ponzu with grated daikon and ginger

Top your crispy, hot tofu with a soft mound of mellow and cool daikon oroshi. Drizzle with citrusy ponzu, and garnish with a kick of grated ginger for an outstanding combination of textures, temperatures, and flavours.

How to make daikon oroshi

You know that stuff floating in your bowl of tempura dipping sauce? It’s daikon oroshi. Grated daikon radish is used to aid digestion and counteract greasiness of oily foods. Although the radish might have a sharp flavour, daikon oroshi is mild if prepared properly. You’ll need a special grater to do this, but they’re cheaply available. Look in Asian dollar stores or in Chinatown kitchen supply shops. They’re worth the two or three dollars.

  1. Use the blunt (top) end of the radish. The pointed end has a sharper flavor.
  2. Cut the daikon crosswise to find the outer layer, which holds a lot of the sharpness. Remove all of it with a vegetable peeler or knife.
  3. Grate the daikon and gently drain excess liquid. Use immediately.

How to grate ginger

Asian ginger graters are ingenious! Instead of giving off shreds, they catch the root’s hairy fibres and release a soft pulp of the fresh, peppery pith. Use a knife or the edge of a spoon to peel the skin off first, and then grate away. Use grated ginger as a garnish, in baking, or spoon it into hot water with honey for a spicy, warming tea.

Reader ParticipATE-tion:

Check out what readers have made using the above recipes – and see their comments below to hear about their experience.

Evan's agedashi tofu - step 5: coating the tofu

Evan's tofu - step 6: draining the fried tofu

Evan's agedashi tofu - the final product. Served with a side of sea asparagus with peanut sauce.

Check out what readers have made at a FEEDback potluck.

Mark and Karen's agedashi tofu - Photo credit: Robert Shaer (

The following was made by participants of UBC’s Japanese Home Cooking Class: