Agedashi Tofu

Discussion in 'Geek Recipes' started by Amfibius, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    I love this stuff. Every time I go to a Japanese restaurant, I make sure to order it. Crispy outside, creamy inside, a big umami smack from the broth, and after eating it you feel so light and healthy (despite the tofu being deep fried!).

    As per usual, I googled the recipes and quickly came across many different variations. They varied in the type of flour recommended, the frying temperature, the components of the broth, and the garnish. So I decided to do my own experiments to see which is best.

    Ingredients

    [​IMG]

    - 1 block Silken tofu (see discussion)
    - 50gm (1/2 cup) flour (see discussion)
    - 1 cup Dashi stock (bottle on far left)
    - 2 tbsp Mirin (Japanese cooking sake)
    - 3 tbsp Soy sauce (preferably Kikkoman)
    - 3cm piece Ginger, grated
    - 3cm piece Radish (preferably daikon), grated
    - Nori flakes, bonito flakes, etc. as garnish
    - vegetable oil for deep frying

    Discussion

    For me, the ultimate Agedashi Tofu has a crispy exterior and a creamy, light interior. Given the simplicity of the dish, there are only 3 things to look at - the tofu, the flour, and the oil.

    The oil. I have found in the past that pretty much any neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point will work. There is little difference between them. I tend to use Canola or mixed vegetable oil - both taste OK and I won't accidentally serve them to my friend's son (who has a nasty peanut allergy). When I absolutely want a neutral flavour, I will use grapeseed oil - but this is very expensive.

    As for frying temperature, you should be aware that the hotter the oil, the more reactive it is. If it is very hot (say 220C!) there is a risk the oil will boil over when you put food in. If you are using a gas hob, the oil might catch fire and you will have a "situation". Use a high sided saucepan for deep frying. I use my stock pot - the sides are 5 times higher than the level of oil, and it has a cover - so I can slam it on and put out any fire if need be. A high sided pot also helps control oil splatters, making it easier to clean up your kitchen later. At 190C you should be fairly safe, so just take this as a general warning about deep frying.

    [​IMG]

    The flour. A quick scan of all the recipes in google shows that three types of flour are regularly recommended - katakuriko[/b] flour (Japanese potato flour), cornflour, and regular flour. Since I also have Texturas Trisol I thought I would try that as well. Clockwise from top left: cornflour, katakuriko, Trisol, plain wheat flour.

    The tofu. The only tofu you should buy for this recipe is silken tofu. Any other tofu will be too coarse and the dish won't work. Silken tofu is simply lightly pressed tofu curds. In general: the softer your tofu, the more fragile it will be (remember you have to coat it in flour then lower it into hot oil!), and the more likely it will be to break. However, if you can pull it off, softer tofu also gives a superior final product.

    The major problem is that different brands come in varying degrees of softness, and there is no way to tell until you get it home and cut it up. Once you find a brand that you like, stick with it. I use "Japanese Silken Tofu" which I buy from Suzuran.

    Anyway, here is the result of the fry-up with tasting notes. I did not show the result of the 50:50 blend of Trisol and katakuriko. Two types of tofu are pictured - one is a brand of silken tofu which held up to the deep frying (behind), and the other was a fragile tofu which almost broke apart (front). You can actually see the difference:

    [​IMG]

    Trisol - noticably the worst result. Note the blistering of the skin and how it burnt quicker than the other types of flour. You can also see that it held on to more oil and it is seeping out onto the paper. Not recommended.

    Wheat flour - Noticably thicker crust and more crunchy than any of the other flours. Maintained crispiness the longest. However, not authentic - agedashi tofu in restaurants does not taste like this.

    Corn flour - thinner crust and a slight gumminess. Lighter in taste compared to the wheat flour.

    Katakuriko flour - very similar to corn flour in taste and texture. I probably won't be able to tell them apart if you served it to me blind, but side by side the katakuriko was less oily than the corn flour. The finish was dryer and cleaner.

    All in all my wife and I liked all the flours except the Trisol. We agreed that the katakuriko tasted the most authentic, but we preferred the crispness of the plain wheat flour.

    The next day I tried making a mix of 50:50 Trisol and Katakuriko. Trisol is supposed to be a flour additive that results in ultra-crispy batters. This time, it really worked - it had the clean-ness of the 100% katakuriko and was even crispier than the 100% wheat flour. I don't have any pictures, sorry! And in any case, you might find Trisol hard to get!

    ... anyway, on to how to cook it:

    Method

    First, cut up the tofu into 2cm x 2cm cubes and place on kitchen paper to absorb excess moisture. This is an important step - it helps firm up the tofu, making it easier to handle.

    Prepare your broth. Normally, the Japanese would make their own dashi with bonito flakes and konbu. Unfortunately, konbu is banned in Australia (don't ask me why!). So, we can only get either dashi concentrate (which is what I used) or dashi granules.

    Either way, prepare 1 cup of dashi as per the instructions on your packet. Add the mirin and soy sauce and taste. Make sure you know what each individual component tastes like, so that you can adjust the broth to your liking. Your dashi and your mirin will taste different to mine, so my broth recipe may not work for you. Keep warm.

    Heat oil in a deep fryer to 190C. Coat the tofu in flour, then deep fry until lightly golden, about 2 min. Drain on paper towels.

    Pile tofu on a bowl, then pour broth down the side of the plate (avoid splashing on tofu as this will turn them soggy quicker). Add the grated ginger and radish, and sprinkle Nori flakes on top. Serve immediately. The finished product:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Shaetano

    Shaetano Member

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    Great write up and experimentation as usual Amfibius.

    While I'm not a huge tofu fa or related dishes fan I love agedashi tofu!

    Will have to try out your recipe soon. It seems Kombu is banned because of iodine levels, similar to the soy bean milk drink thing a few years ago.
     
  3. OldnBold

    OldnBold Member

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    Last edited: Nov 12, 2011
  4. Ding.Chavez

    Ding.Chavez Member

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    Have you tried Rice Bran Oil - lots of japanese resturants use this for deep frying due its really high smoking point (so high they use it on submarines) and its excellent ability not to flavour the food with oily flavours.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Thanks for the tip Ding ... no I haven't. I'll try to find that when my current batch of deep fry oil runs out.
     
  6. scon

    scon Member

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    Looks delicious! This is probably our most cooked Japanese dish at home. We usually use plain potato flour but I'll have to give your suggestion a bash. As well as nori on top, we usually also grate some radish (we'd use daikon, but they're so big and we'd not use the rest) and some shallots as it's a nice fresh counterpoint to the rest of the dish.

    I had no idea about konbu... is it a recent thing? I bought some from my local asian grocer 6 months ago and still have some. Is there some black market potential in it?! :p
     
  7. randomman

    randomman Member

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    Mmmm looks awesome. I'm a meat eater but my girlfriend is a gluten intolerant vegetarian, and when she orders this I normally steal a bit. I'll have to make it one night and surprise her. Cheers. :thumbup:
     
  8. Grimace22

    Grimace22 Member

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    Agreed, I'm normally all about the meats, but the japanese tofu fried like this is awesome.
     
  9. Shaetano

    Shaetano Member

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    Made it the other night (no pics!) with 'fortune' branded silken tofu and it turned out pretty good.

    I used corn flour (your pic looks like cornstarch Amfibius?) and the texture wasn't bad.
     
  10. GrueHunter

    GrueHunter Member

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    Fantastic write up, and a great dish for summer - I can never make up my mind whether I prefer this or chilled soba, so I have both :sumo :D
     
  11. nanaglenmum

    nanaglenmum Member

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    Amfibius you have picked my all time favourite dish! Living in the sticks, the only way I can eat it is to cook it myself. I agree with using the rice bran oil. I use it for almost all of my cooking and it is FANTASTIC! It gives no flavour and can go to a really high heat before smoking. It crisps things up beautifully. I find it is awesome for tempura too.
    Have you thought of coating the tofu in Arrowroot? And was the cornflour you used proper cornflour or wheaten cornflour??? Not sure if it would make a difference??
    Also, if you find the tofu too delicate, you can press it for 20 mins or so which will make it a little bit easier to handle, but without affecting the taste and texture too much.
    Finally Scon - why aren't you pickling your left over daikon???? I'll have to grow you some next time you come to visit. It goes feral here and the leaves make awesome furotaki.
     
  12. broccoli

    broccoli Member

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    Oh, yum. Do you think you could have this with tempura vegetables? I've bought a deep-fryer and now that I can fry stuff withouth oil splashed all over my kitchen I am intending to fry like a mad thing. I love tempura and was planning to do it, but I want to do this also. Decisions, decisions.
     
  13. dacow

    dacow Member

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    I love Agedashi tofu! Now if only I can convince the missus to eat it Tofu!

    Need to get me a deep fryer too :upset:
     
  14. OP
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    Amfibius

    Amfibius Member

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    Don't tell your girlfriend, but Dashi has tuna in it ;) Like I said in the recipe - dashi is konbu + bonito flakes. Bonito flakes are dried tuna, dried so much that the fish resembles a block of wood. They use a shaver (similar to a carpentry scraper) to scrape flakes off it.

    Don't know? Neither my specialist Japanese grocer nor any Asian grocer stocks it. All have said that it has been banned.

    I looked at the packet ... it says "corn flour" :)

    I haven't tried arrowroot. The cornflour I used (White Wings) claims it is 100% cornflour.

    That is true. How do you press tofu without breaking it? The silken tofu I buy is so soft that breaks when I remove it from the packet.

    Of course you could, but tempura batter is a different recipe :)

    You don't need a deep fryer. I don't have one. I do all my deep frying in my pot. You need a thermometer to monitor the temperature, and you need to know how to control the heat by turning the gas up and down. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy.

    Use the money you save from buying a deep fryer and buy yourself a really good thermometer ... like the Thermapen I keep raving about ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2011
  15. Quadbox

    Quadbox Member

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    Keith the reason Kombu's been banned, btw, is because it contains high concentrations of iodine and is an ocean product of coastal japan. Hence there's some concern that it'll contain high levels of radioactive isotopes of iodine post fukushima, and the australian government's ever eager to show it's doing something, even if that something isnt really doing anything :p

    In reality of course the stuff is perfectly safe, but hey, politicians. And radiation scare mongerers.

    As an aside, I always appreciate how seriously you take food :p. Keep the threads coming.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  16. Shaetano

    Shaetano Member

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    Ah ok no problem, could just be the processing.

    The cornflour I used was like this; http://www.vitarichagro.co.in/corn-flour.htm

    Not as fine as cornstarch but finer than polenta.
     
  17. Bastard Child

    Bastard Child RIP

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    Do you have a link?


    http://www.smh.com.au/national/chefs-in-a-stir-over-seaweed-ban-20110610-1fx1p.html

    {Ma Baker Edit: The admin wasn't abusing his powers. If you can't ask in a respectful way, don't bother posting.}
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2011
  18. scon

    scon Member

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    Here's mine... I think I use bigger chunks of tofu and I usually grate the Radish, but it looks alright like this. I also didn't drain my tofu as well as I should so there's a couple of drops of oil in the broth. Tasted really good - I use potato starch as my coating.
     
  19. nanaglenmum

    nanaglenmum Member

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    Nice job Sconny! Guess I'll have to have a go now! lol!
     

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