It’s common for Chinese diners to order braised silken tofu, which is prepared by first frying the tofu in oil and then simmering it in broth. The fried silken tofu distinguishes this meal from some of our other tofu dishes (like this basic beef tofu stir-fry).
This braised tofu dish is a fan favorite, similar to our original Hong Shao Tofu, but made with silken tofu rather than medium or soft tofu. See the numerous types of tofu on our tofu ingredients list.
Deep frying silken tofu adds a thin crust on the outside, which helps the tofu hold up to mild stir-frying, making it more durable.
With a little crunchy surface and a silky smoothness, it’s an excellent method to acquire that true Chinese restaurant taste.
If you haven’t already, I’d want to stress the importance of the different deep-frying stages.
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Don’t waste any time looking at those images; go to work!
As a side note, we also recommend trying our famous Crispy Skin Stuffed Tofu recipe, where we use soft tofu coated in cornstarch and filled with shrimp. The sweet soy dipping sauce pairs perfectly with a few crispy blocks of silky tofu created in this dish. Mmmm.
- 1 pound of silken tofu (450g, organic preferred!)
- 2 cups of oil (for frying)
- 1 cup of chicken stock (can also use vegetable stock or soaking liquid from dried shiitake mushrooms)
- 1 tbsp. of oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
- 1 1/2 tbsp. of soy sauce
- 1 tsp. of dark soy sauce
- ½ tsp. of sesame oil
- ¼ tsp. of sugar
- ¼ tsp. of salt (or to taste)
- 3 small slices of ginger (1/8 inch thick)
- 3 cloves of garlic (finely minced)
- 2 scallions (white and green parts separated, 2-inch cut)
- 4 pcs. of fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 1 medium carrot (thinly sliced)
- 2/3 cup of fresh winter bamboo shoots (or canned if fresh shoots are not available)
- 1 tbsp. of Shaoxing wine
- 1/2 cup of snap peas
- 1 1/2 tbsp. of cornstarch (dissolved in 2 tablespoons water)
- Before cutting the tofu into 10 pieces, let it remain at room temperature for 30 minutes. Using a tilted plate, carefully remove the liquid. This process lets you drain part of the silken tofu’s water content.
- Heat the oil to 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit in a large pot. Place the pot’s rim as far down as possible to prevent oil spills before adding the oil. Splattering is also reduced. I suggest using a cooking thermometer to check the temperature.
- Scoop up each piece one at a time with a metal spatula or slotted spoon and swiftly drop it into the heated oil. At medium-high heat, cook 3 to 4 pieces of tofu at a time until they’re golden brown. To quickly brown the outside and make a light crust, you must keep the oil at a high temperature.
- Put your silken tofu in the deep fryer and cook it for 2 to 3 minutes per batch, or until it turns a light golden brown color. To get the best results, you need to keep the oil temperature between 375 and 400 degrees F.
- Add the oyster sauce, soy sauces, sesame oil, sugar, and salt to a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the frying oil to the outside of your wok and heat it over medium heat. Stir the smashed ginger in the oil for about 15 seconds after adding it to the wok. Increase the heat and add the minced garlic, white scallions, mushrooms, carrots, and bamboo shoots. Shaoxing wine and snap peas are added after 30 seconds of stirring.
- Add the sauce mixture and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Bring the ingredients to a rolling boil. After the sauce is boiling, add the cornstarch and water combination and stir for 15 seconds to thicken it. Add the scallions and the fried silken tofu.
- To ensure that the tofu is well-coated, gently fold the mixture in two. Take caution when handling the fried silken tofu because of its delicate nature! If you prefer a thicker sauce, simmer the braised tofu for 15 to 20 seconds before adding extra cornstarch and water.