Tahu Goreng – Fried Tofu

Fried Tofu - Central Java

Fried Tofu – Central Java

I like it when Beb Vuyk lets us know where a dish is from. This is apparently fried tofu from Central Java. Tofu seems more popular now that vegan food is becoming increasingly more interesting.

Vegetarian Indonesian recipes

Did you know that Beb also published a book (or actually her publisher did) with only vegetarian Indonesian dishes? These dishes are distilled from the book I work from. When there is trassi (fermented shrimp paste) in it, they just leave it out. Check out Beb’s vegetarian section on this blog.

Fried Tofu – Central Java

But back to the fried tofu now. I’ve bought a block of tofu at my local Asian food store, but I can also get it in any supermarket. I like its shape: a beautiful rectangular block. This will make lovely slices. Beb states in her recipe to cut thumb-thick slices.

This easy dish is enough for 2 people and is ready in 30 minutes.

You can watch this recipe in video or read further to get the recipe in text and images.

Fried Tofu (Central Java) #342 translated from Beb Vuyk’s Groot Indonesisch kookboek, page 285.


1 block of tofu
6 tablespoons of rice flour
6 tablespoons of water
2-deciliter oil

Herbs and spices

3 shredded cloves of garlic
5 roasted candlenuts
1 teaspoon of ketumbar (coriander powder)

  1. Cut the tofu into slices of one thumb thickness.
  2. Make a batter with the rice flour and water.
  3. Rub garlic, candlenuts, ketumbar and salt into a paste and mix well through the batter.
  4. Dip slices of tofu in this mix and fry until golden brown.

The ingredients are pretty simple but maybe the candlenuts and rice flour are bit unfamiliar.


Candlenuts are fatty nuts that are used in Indonesian cuisine to make those lovely ‘bumbus’. These spice paste mixes are rubbed in a mortar and often candlenuts (kemirie) are added to make the bumbu thick and smooth.

If you use candlenuts in a raw chili salsa (sambal) for example you have to roast them a bit. Because raw canlde nuts are slightly toxic.

In this recipe the batter is fried, so the nuts in the batter are safe to eat ;-).

Rice flour

I buy rice flour at my local Asian food store but I can get it in the supermarket too. It’s a super fine flour. I use it for lots of Indonesian sweets and desserts too. Check my sweet tooth recipe section here.


I start by cutting the tofu in thumb-thick slices.

I make a paste of the candle nuts, garlic and ketumbar (coriander seeds) in the mortar (cobek).

I add a teaspoon of salt. That may seem like a lot, but this bumbu goes through a thin batter and the tasteless tofu needs some strong flavors.

Rice flour is easy to mix in to a smooth batter. Much easier than regular flour.

I stick to the amount of six tablespoons of rice flour and six tablespoons of water to make a batter of the perfect consistency: it needs to stick to the tofu easily. I scoop the bumbu through the rice flour batter.

Now I place a slice of tofu in it (for a minute or so). I let it marinate a bit and make sure its covered completely.

My oil is hot and I carefully slide a slice in it.

Frying oil

I use deep-frying sunflower oil. In the past, I sometimes fried in pure sunflower oil, but that splashes all around and gives off a lot of smell. I, therefore, buy deep-frying oil because it contains an anti-foaming and splashing agent and does not really give off any odor. Perfect!

The tofu needs some time (3-5 minutes) to deep fry and to get a nice golden-brown color. The longer the crispier it gets.

I bake two at a time but no more because otherwise the oil cools down too quickly.

These fried tofu slices are packed with flavor. The garlic is delicious and nutty and the outside of the tofu is crisp while the inside is moist and tender. Love it!

We eat our fried tofu with red rice and homemade sambal (Indonesian chili salsa).

Want to see more tofu and tempeh recipes on this blog, check out this link.

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2 Responses

  1. philip juned says:

    always love your indonesian dishes.
    i live in central java, there is a lot of home industry makes tofu. this my fav dinner dish. the bumbu that you is precisely what i make in home. tofu has some variant dish, once of famous is “Tahu Gimbal”, famous in Semarang (capital city of central java). maybe one day you must try it.


  2. Tiny Sahl says:

    wah keren tulisannya. terima beri yah

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