Deep fried tofu, Agedashi tofu

Tofu is not a substitute for meat.

Tofu is not a meat substitute.

It pisses me off when an Asian restaurant offers a dish in “chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, or tofu.” It would probably piss me off if I went to a restaurant in Japan and they offered the option to sub beef for chicken or pork in my sliders. Or tofu in my chili.

Tofu dishes can be vegetarian. But a large part of tofu dishes contain meat or fish products in one way or another to add some flavor to the rather bland soy bean cake.

So please don’t think of tofu as a meat substitute for vegans and vegetarian. And please don’t think that this dish can be arranged to make vegetarian versions of buffalo fried tofu, or whatever it is.

However, stubbornness has never been one of my traits, so let me know if there’s a dish that uses tofu as a meat substitute in a western context, and manages to pull it off.

Home made deep fried tofu with grated ginger and scallions

 

Agedashi dofu is usually bought in a supermarket fried and ready to eat. It’s more of a side dish that people can just open, dump in a bowl, and throw on the table as an afterthought than a main dish. However, frying the tofu yourself right before the meal makes the dish worthy as a main dish.

Making it is actually extremely simple. Heat up the oil fairly high, about 350 degrees, and throw in the tofu that’s been thoroughly dried on the outside. Have the heat around medium or medium high, and wait until the exterior is browned and crispy. The lower the heat and longer the frying time, the thicker the browned, crispy part becomes.

Throw on scallions, bonito flakes, or anything that you want. My favorite is kimchi and dried anchovy infused soy sauce. I guess that already goes against any notion of authenticity.

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Filed under Food, Fried food, Japanese

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