Grilled Crisp Tofu Pockets (Tahu Bakar)

May 19, 2023

Tahu Bakar is attractive and savory, the Indonesian/Malaysian snack of grilled crisp tofu pockets.

(Note: In the cookbook, tofu is spelled “Tahu” rather than “Tauhu” because that is the Indonesian spelling.)

My friend Andrea Nguyen of Viet World Kitchen published an Asian tofu cooking book. Tofu and tofu-related goods are some of my favorite foods; thus, I eagerly await this one of the cookbooks each year.

When I was in Malaysia, she mailed the book to me.

When I returned to my Irvine home, the first thing I did was search through my stacks of magazines and books for Asian Tofu.

Due to jet lag, I woke up to read the lovely cookbook in the middle of the night.

Just one thing to say about Andrea’s latest endeavor: she is an accomplished culinary writer.

In Asian Tofu, her enthusiasm, effort, and expertise come through (and her previous books).

Personally and professionally, I hold her in high esteem, and she is an inspiration to me.

An Easy Recipe To Replicate

This easy recipe may make a delicious Indonesian/Malaysian snack known as Tahu Bakar or grilled crisp tofu pockets at home.

When I recently visited my friend Indochine Kitchen in Medan, Indonesia, I was treated to a memorable Tahu Bakar.

My goal is to recreate this dish at home, and now I have the exact recipe. and Barnes & Noble sell Andrea Nguyen’s book Asian Tofu: Discover the Best and Make Your Own and Cook It at Home.

The average number of calories in one serving?

  •  Each serving of this recipe contains only 357 calories.

With this recipe, what are its complementary dishes?

I’ve compiled a collection of healthy and quick recipes to prepare on a weeknight.


  • 3 tablespoons packed dark palm sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp paste or two teaspoons pre-roasted dried shrimp paste
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind Liquid
  • 1 or 2 moderately hot red chiles, such as Fresno, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Indonesian sweet soy sauce


  • 1 large Kirby or Persian seeded cucumber, quartered lengthwise and cut on the diagonal into thin strips, each about 2 inches (5cm) long
  • 5 cups water
  • 21/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds (600 g) firm tofu
  • 4 oz. (115 g) bean sprouts
  • canola oil for deep-frying
  • 2 to 3 tbsps. unsalted and chopped roasted peanuts


  1. A 3-inch-square sheet of aluminum foil can be used as an envelope to produce the sauce if you are using unroasted dried shrimp paste for the sauce. You can flatten the packet by pressing it firmly with your heel. 2 to 3 minutes over medium-high heat with tongs until it smells like brine; expect the foil to sputter with vapor as the packet is roasted. The food should be taken out of the oven and allowed to cool. If you’re having trouble with odor, try running your engine with the exhaust blown up. If you’re using pre-cooked shrimp paste, you can skip this step.)
  2. Grind the shrimp paste, palm sugar, and chilies to a fine powder in a small food processor. You’ll end up with roughly half a cup of tamarind paste and sweet soy sauce after processing. If you plan to eat it immediately, transfer it to a bowl. Another option is to keep it cold and bring it to room temperature before using it for one week.
  3. Halve the tofu lengthwise, then cut each half into 21/4-inch broad by 3/4-inch thick squarish pieces.
  4. There should be a total of 12 parts. Put in a container. A second bowl will be perfect for the bean sprouts. Set aside for now.
  5. Bring the liquid to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat. Pour in 3 cups of water and whisk in the salt until it is dissolved. Cover the tofu with this salty water. For 15 minutes, put it away.

Then, follow the next steps:

  1. Cover the bean sprouts with the remaining (salt-free) boiling water. Drain the sprouts, flush them with cold water, and lay them aside to dry thoroughly. Preparation and storage of the bean sprout up to a week in advance are recommended.
  2. Immediately after removing the tofu from the water, cover it with two layers of paper towels or a dishtowel. Drain for at least 15 minutes before using.
  3. You should heat the oil to a temperature between 182°C and 187°C in a wok, deep skillet, or saucepan diameter of 1 1/2 inches (3 cm). In batches of four to six tofu pieces, slide them into the oil and gently stir them using chopsticks or a skimmer to ensure equal frying and avoid sticking. You can either wait until they are golden brown before trying to separate them if they stick, or you can rapidly withdraw the pieces from the oil and divide them before quickly re-inserting them into the oil to complete the cooking process. After 2 to 3 minutes, the tofu should be golden brown and crispy. You can use paper towels to drain the fried tofu. Before frying another batch, bring the oil back up to temperature. Leave to cool. Before grilling, bring the tofu back to room temperature if it has been refrigerated for more than five days after being fried.
  4. When you’re ready to grill the tofu, get a charcoal fire going or turn the heat on a gas grill to medium-high. On each side, cook the tofu for about 3 minutes until it’s hot, crispy, and charred. Before taking the tofu from the grill, brush it with sauce to caramelize it. Allow it cool for a few minutes on a plate. (Alternatively, broil the tofu in a toaster oven directly on the rack for about 6 minutes, flipping halfway, until it is hot and slightly crispy at the edges).”
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