Japanese-Style Fried Tofu

August 14, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 2-3
Author Notes

My husband turned vegetarian a couple of months ago and since then I have been trying to come up with lots of different marinades for tofu, as that is his favorite choice of protein. He liked this Japanese style marinade a lot and declared it to be the best of all the ones I have made for him so far. Hope you like it too! —Madhuja

Test Kitchen Notes

There is both brown sugar and honey in the tofu marinade, so I anticipated this to be a bit too sweet but it turned out great! I could eat these as a snack or in a stir fry like the author suggests. One note: so the tofu gets more color and crispness, I would fry these with less than 1/4 cup of oil. —broccolirose

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup shiro miso paste (white miso)
  • 1/4 cup ponzu sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  1. Gently press the block of tofu after wrapping it in paper towels. You'll see a lot of water coming out, but make sure you don't press too hard as you don't want it to crumble. Once most of the moisture has been pressed out, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Set aside.
  2. Mix all the rest of the ingredients, except for the oil, in a glass bowl. Submerge the tofu pieces in the marinade and park it in the fridge for at least 24 hours to up to 48 hours (like I did). Give it a shake every now and then.
  3. Heat a big skillet and pour enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan. On medium heat add the pieces of tofu in a single layer. Be careful, it is going to splatter like crazy!! Using tongs GENTLY turn them around and fry them on all sides. Once they are nicely browned on all sides, drain them on a paper towel.
  4. You could have the tofu as it is, or you could use it with your favorite stir fry, on salads, in wraps or sandwiches. Enjoy!
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lizzie Deroy
    Lizzie Deroy
  • farmersdotter
  • Miles Linklater
    Miles Linklater
  • mtoliveira
  • walkie74

26 Reviews

Lizzie D. August 23, 2015
This is great. Thank you. I reduced my leftover marinade and used it as a sauce. It's delicious.
Madhuja August 23, 2015
Yay! I am so glad! :)
farmersdotter February 25, 2015
What recipes has your husband come up with?
Miles L. February 25, 2015
replace the honey with Agave Syrup and it will be suitable for vegans as well. my only concern would be the ponzu sauce, which is normally made with dashi and contains bonito (fish) flakes.
Madhuja February 25, 2015
Thank you for letting me know about the ponzu sauce - I had no idea it had the bonito flakes!
Dario December 9, 2014
Mirin is not vegetarian, since it contains bonito fish extract.
Dario December 9, 2014
I'm sorry , I made a mistake. Mirin usually does not contain bonito fish extract. I was thinking of something else. Either way, it is always a good habit to read the list of ingredients on everything. I do sincerely apologize.
mtoliveira January 10, 2014
This recipe is very good. When I lived in Tokyo i took class to learn how to use tofu, was amazing. One comment though about this recipe, because I am diabetic, I sub the sugar for stevia, is not the same but give a touch of sweetness.
Madhuja January 10, 2014
Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I am so glad you liked it! :)
Skinny B. August 14, 2013
A chinese friend of mine taught me a trick to make tofu absorbs flavor like sponge: freeze your tofu for a few days, then thaw it at room temperature. Then gently squeeze out all the access water from the tofu (trust me you won't break the tofu if you literally squeeze it)!! The freeze thaw process creates little holes in the tofu that makes the texture into sponge-like.
Madhuja August 14, 2013
Thank you so much! This is a great tip!:)
Skinny B. August 14, 2013
You are very welcome Madhuja. Squeeze the tofu gently though and not to hardly.
walkie74 July 20, 2013
My husband makes a mean agedashi tofu, but I think it's high time I learned how to make a tofu dish--and I think this is it! Thanks for sharing!
Madhuja July 20, 2013
You are very welcome! I hope you like it!:)
Butternut December 30, 2012
This is so good - my new favorite tofu recipe. Didn't have ponzu, so used half soy sauce and half fresh lime juice to reach 1/4 cup. Also wanted to cut back the sugar, so used a few tablespoons of grade B maple syrup instead of the honey and sugar. The tofu really took on the marinade, even though it only marinated for about a half hour. Heated the marinade to use as a dip for the tofu - delicious. Will be making this one again!
Madhuja January 3, 2013
I am so glad you liked it! And your variations sound delicious!
stephanie September 10, 2012
Sounds so good! By ponzu sauce, do you mean with soy added?
Madhuja September 11, 2012
Thanks! Yes, the ponzu is just a citrus flavored soy sauce - I used the Kikkoman brand.
Cinnamin September 9, 2012
Oooh delish! I am a tofu freak. Like I eat it sprinkled with salt and pepper. This looks and sounds wonderful; and with a dash of sweetness I'm sold! Will it turn out as good if you cannot find mirin?
Madhuja September 9, 2012
If you cannot find it, how about substituting it in the recipe with 2 tbsp white wine sprinkled with a pinch of sugar? That should do the trick! :)
Let me know how it turned out!
mtlabor September 6, 2012
This looks amazing!
Madhuja September 6, 2012
Thank you very much! :)
Brussels S. August 16, 2012
Yum, looks delicious!
Madhuja August 16, 2012
Thank you so much! :)
Madhuja August 14, 2012
Thanks, Panfusine! I hope you try it soon! :)
Panfusine August 14, 2012
oooh, the crusty fried surface of the tofu is a delightful reminder of how delicious this dish is!.. Sounds AMAZING!