Agedashi tofu is a delicious deep-fried tofu in a dashi-based broth, usually served as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants. This agedashi-style recipe includes my simple method for making your own amazing dashi broth.
Katsuobushi dashi is the perfect bath for my perfectly fried, fluffy tofu. I think of the tofu in this dish as wonderful little fluffy pillows of tofu. Trust me when I say, you've never had tofu THIS good.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
Agedashi tofu is traditionally made with potato or rice flour, but this recipe has been thoroughly tested to be made with arrowroot powder, cornstarch, rice flour, potato flour, or all-purpose flour so you can make it with whatever you have on hand.
Tofu has a long shelf life in the refrigerator and it's a great protein alternative making it a healthy weeknight dinner option. And it cooks quickly.
Agedashi tofu is traditionally made with silken or medium-firm tofu, but this recipe has been developed using medium or firm tofu, which is much easier to handle and fry without it falling apart. And it still yields that fluffy interior texture.
I usually double the dashi recipe and freeze half for another night. Then, all you have to do is add the sauce ingredients and fry up the tofu for an easy weeknight dinner.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Tofu - Use firm or medium firm tofu for this recipe. For a complete guide to cooking with firm tofu, you can check out this resource.
flour - You can use arrowroot powder, cornstarch, rice flour, potato flour, or all-purpose flour. All have been tested with great success in this recipe, and my preference is arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
Flavorless oil - You can use sunflower seed, canola, or vegetable.
Ginger - Use fresh stem ginger, grated.
Nori seaweed - this is an optional addition for garnish.
Mirin - This is a rice wine, usually found in the oils and vinegar section of the grocery store.
Soy sauce - I usually use tamari or a light soy sauce, but any soy sauce will work in this recipe.
Arrowroot powder - This starch serves as a thickening agent in the dashi-based sauce and can be substituted with cornstarch.
Kombu seaweed - This is a brown algae you can buy in small packs.
Dried bonito flakes - You can sub these with dried shiitake mushrooms as a vegan option
How to Make This Recipe
Start by making the dashi broth, then fry the tofu and make the sauce.
First, prepare the dashi by soaking the kombu in water for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Next, heat the water on low heat without letting it come to a boil.
Remove the kombu, add in the bonito flakes, and bring the water to a boil. Turn off as soon as it comes to a boil and steep for 10 minutes.
Then, strain out the bonito flakes.
You can make the dashi in advance and freeze it, just as you would stock. However, the complete sauce does not freeze well. So freeze the dashi at this stage.
Making the Sauce with your Dashi
Before you start the sauce, dry the tofu by draining as much water out as possible. Surround the tofu with paper towels, and top with a book or plate to add even pressure and draw the water out. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
To finish making the sauce, add the 24-30 oz. of dashi (the seaweed liquid made in step 1), mirin, and soy sauce to a saucepan.
Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Then, reduce to low. Mix the arrowroot powder with the water in a small bowl until dissolved and then stir into the sauce until thickened. Then turn off the heat.
Make sure the sauce is warm when you add the arrowroot and water mixture. If it isn't, the sauce will not properly thicken.
How to Fry the Tofu
Cut the tofu into 1.5-2 inch blocks. I usually get 9-12 out of each of my 1 lb. blocks, depending on the brand of tofu.
Heat ¼-inch of flavorless oil in your non-stick fry pan. Roll the tofu in flour, and fry over medium heat for 2 minutes per side.
Always use a non-stick fry pan to fry the tofu. If you do not use a non-stick pan, you will need at least 1-inch of oil, or preferably a full deep-fry amount of oil, or the tofu will stick.
You only need to cook 4 sides of the tofu rather than all 6. To remove excess oil, transfer to paper towels after frying.
Bringing it All Together
Plate your tofu by adding four or five pieces of fried tofu. Then, pour some of the dashi sauce over the tofu and into the bowl. Garnish with grated ginger, scallion slices, and seaweed.
Agedashi tofu is tofu dredged in flour or starch and deep-fried to make a crispy outer shell, while leaving a fluffy, pillowy inside. It is a Japanese tofu dish typically served in a kombu and bonito flake dashi with grated ginger and green onion.
The broth in this recipe is made with bonito flakes, which is fish. If you would like to make this dish vegan, you can replace the bonito flakes with dried shiitake mushrooms.
Agedashi means lightly deep-fried tofu. You just fry the tofu it until it turns golden brown. That is what keeps the tofu cube pillowy.
More Great Tofu Recipes
Tofu is such a versatile protein to cook with, so you'll love these inventive tofu recipes!
Agedashi Tofu Recipe
- 2 lbs. tofu medium or firm
- arrowroot powder or cornstarch, rice flour, potato starch, or all-purpose flour, for dredging
- canola oil or other flavorless oil like vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 inches fresh ginger finely grated
- 2 scallions thinly sliced
- nori seaweed optional, for garnish
- 30 oz. katsuobushi dashi recipe and ingredients below
- 5 fl oz. mirin
- 3 fl oz. soy sauce
- 3 teaspoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon water
- 4 cups water
- 10 g kombu seaweed
- 10 g dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi) or sub with dried shitake mushrooms for vegan option
- Prepare the dashi by soaking the kombu in water for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Heat the water on low without letting it come to a boil.
- Remove the kombu, add the bonito flakes, and bring to a boil. Turn off as soon as it comes to a boil and steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the bonito flakes.
- Dry the tofu by draining as much water out as possible. Surround the tofu with paper towels, and top with a book or plate to add even pressure and draw the water out. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, finish making the sauce. Add the 30 oz. of dashi (the seaweed liquid made in step 1), mirin, and soy sauce to a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce to low.
- Mix the arrowroot powder with the water in a small bowl until dissolved and then stir into the sauce until thickened. Then turn off the sauce.
Fry the tofu
- Cut the tofu into 1.5-2 inch blocks. I usually get 9-12 out of each of my 1 lb. blocks, depending on the brand of tofu.
- Heat ¼-inch of flavorless oil in your non-stick fry pan. Roll the tofu in flour, and fry over medium heat for 2 minutes per side.
- Heat ¼-inch of oil in your non-stick fry pan.
- Roll the tofu in flour, and fry over medium heat for 2 minutes per side. You only need to cook 4 sides.
- Serve by splitting the tofu across 4 individual bowls. Pour the broth into the bowls. Garnish with the grated ginger, scallion slices, and seaweed.
This post was originally published in June of 2018, but was republished with new photos, step by step instructions, and tips November of 2019. This recipe was updated in February 2023 with an ingredients section, FAQ section, and increased detail throughout.
I don’t usually rate a recipe before I’ve actually made it, but I’ve been eager to make this at home and I will be trying it soon. My crystal ball tells me it will be a five star hit!
I have a question—do you think it would work to do the tofu in my deep fryer? Thanks.
It will absolutely work in your deep fryer... it actually works even better! I fry them in shallow oil only to reduce oil waste. Enjoy!
This recipe is just awesome for Japanese Fried Tofu. Peel and grate the daikon and gently squeeze water out. Put dashi, soy sauce, and mirin in a small saucepan and bring to boil. we can also add some monosodium glutamate(msg) to it just to enhance the flavor of the sauce.
Thank you for sharing... I'm glad you liked it. Your additions sounds so good, Sharon!
Method sounds good, but authentic agedashi is made with potato flour dredging as well as Japanese silken tofu (not firm). Make those changes next time you try and I promise you'll never go back! <3
This definitely isn't a traditional agedashi tofu... your way is much more like the traditional. My version uses ingredients I always have on hand... Both ways work great!
My husband and I love Japanese food, especially agedashi tofu. I really had never considered making it at home until Covid came along. We were craving agedashi, so I found your recipe, ordered all the ingredients and made it myself. This recipe is better or at least as good as any we've had in a Japenese restaurant. I'm making it again tonight! Thanks so much for the recipe!
You just made my day, Teresa! I created this recipe because I live too far from my favorite place to get agedashi tofu, and wanted something just as good. Thank you for your kind words... I'm so glad you liked it!
Mara van der Pas
I dreamed up a variation on agedashi tofu.
- First, while still in the tub they came in , let it freeze overnight.
- Let the tofu package thaw, drain it.
- Cut into "steak squares", then press out all of the water.
- Put the tofu steaks in a LARGE plastic storage bag and add the ketjap manis (aka sweet soy sauce). Let marinate overnight.
-Next day, dredge the "steaks" in a combination of: potato starch, and bit of cumin and coriander.
-Then, shallow fry the steaks until crisp and golden.
- Serve with a peanut sauce or a soy sauce-sesame oil mixture.
That sounds so, so good, Mara!! Wow. Dreaming up recipes is the best. And this one sounds like it is worth making. Yum!