Crisp Tofu Cubes in Tempura Sauce

crisp fried tofu with garlic tsukemono

Fried tofu cubes served with dipping sauce is classic Japanese food, eaten at home, in restaurants, or in bars. It can be a snack, a part of a meal, or an appetizer. Imagine: crisp on the outside, smooth inside. Below is the recipe with a basic sauce, but this time I made it with a different sauce: garlic pickled in kombu and shoyu.
I slivered some the tsukemono garlic cloves, warmed them with some of the kombu/soy liquid plus a bit of dashi. It made a lovely topping for the tofu.

A note: the potato starch coating maintains its crunch quite well, even when it is in the liquid sauce!
Crisp Tofu Cubes in Tempura Sauce
Agedashi Dofu
serves 2 (or 4 as a side dish)
page 249
The Tofu:

  • 1 block of firm tofu (about 11 ounces)
  • 6 Tablespoons potato starch
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

Cut the block of tofu in half horizontally so you have 2 thinner slices. Wrap the tofu in a clean cotton cloth, set it on a rack, cover it with a plate, and top it with a weight (a can of tomatoes). Let it drain for half an hour.
Cut each tofu slice into 4 pieces. Put the potato starch on a plate. Dredge the pieces of tofu in the potato starch and let them stand for a couple of minutes.
Heat 2″ of vegetable oil for deep-frying, to 340°F. Fry the tofu two squares at a time, until the exteriors are crisp and golden, about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels on a rack.
The Sauce:

  • 1 cup tentsuyu (tempora dipping sauce)
  • 1 akatogarashi, or other small dried red chile pepper, seeded and cut into thin rings

In a small saucepan, heat the tempura dipping sauce with the red chile pepper just to a boil over medium heat.

  • 1 Tablespoon thin scallion rings, green part only


  • 1/2 cup grated daikon or ginger

To Serve:
Place two to four squares in each individual bowl, cover them with a portion of the dipping sauce, and garnish them with sliced scallions. Serve small mounds of grated daikon or ginger on the side.

crisp tofu with garlic tsukemono

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9 thoughts on “Crisp Tofu Cubes in Tempura Sauce

  1. Just happened to stumble across your site. Really nice to find a japanese cooking site in english. Enjoying every bite on your writings. BTW, since you used the word, “shoyu”, you must have either visited Hawaii or born here? Or is “shoyu” commonley used elsewhere?

  2. Hi lance,
    Happy to hear from you! And, oh, I would love to visit Hawaii! “Shoyu” is used in the book I’m studying. But I think it is common–I’d heard it before starting my project, and now see it often on the net. Is it a Japanese word? Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Tess,

    I’ve seen the word soy sauce used a lot, but rarely shoyu. I guess it’s use more commonly than I thought. As for it been a japanese word, I’m not sure if it’s a japanese word or an slang word of soy. Looking forward for more of your appetizing posts.

  4. As a chef who frequents Atlanta’s best sushi restaurant (Ru Sans) I’m amazed at your recipes. I love them and their wonderful. Thank you so much.

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