There are many fried tofu recipes in Indonesian cuisine, but Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning (turmeric fried tofu) is my top choice for fried tofus.
Turmeric fried tofu looks plain and simple, but they smell amazingly delicious, and every bite is so flavorful.
You can serve this with steamed rice for lunch or dinner. They are also great for tea time as it is common for Indonesians to enjoy Gorengan (fried food) as snacks with hot tea or hot coffee.
It is difficult to stop with just one. The freshly fried tofu makes people want to keep eating until the whole plate is clean.
I usually serve this with homemade chili sauce, like Sambal Terasi (chili sauce with shrimp paste) or Sambal Tomat Kecap (tomato chili relish). Many Indonesian also enjoy turmeric fried tofu with fresh bird-eye chilies.
To make sure that the tofu keeps it shape and not falling apart, it is best to go with extra-firm tofu. I usually get the four packs firm tofu from Costco. Since they are firm and not extra-firm, some of my tofu usually ends up slightly blemished. They are still delicious, just not as pretty. :)
Cut each block of tofu into eight pieces. You should get a total of 16 pieces of tofu.
Puree shallot, garlic, candlenuts, and galangal into a smooth paste.
TIPS: If the paste feels chunky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water into the food processor/blender and blend again for a smoother paste.
Mix the spice paste with water, lemongrass, Indonesian bay leaves, salt, coriander powder, and turmeric powder in a cooking pot and bring to a boil.
Add tofu into the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the tofu until the broth is dry or close to dry.
TIPS: Once the broth is about 50%, stir the tofu every 10-15 minutes to prevent the tofu from sticking, especially if you are not using a non-stick pot.
Strain braised tofu until dry before frying to prevent the oil from splattering.
Fill a pot with two inches of oil for deep frying and turn on the heat to a medium. The oil is ready when it reaches 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).
TIPS: If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use a bamboo chopstick to tell if the oil is hot or not. Dip a bamboo chopstick into the hot oil. If there are air bubbles around the chopstick, the oil is ready for frying.
Deep fry tofu until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Please don’t crowd the pot to keep the oil hot. It is better to fry the tofu in smaller batches.
Remove fried tofu from the hot oil and strain over a wire rack to keep them crispy.
Transfer the strained fried tofu to a serving plate and serve them immediately.
Although I think it is best to deep fry the tofu, you can also pan-fry them if you prefer.
Heat about three tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. You can also use a well-seasoned cast-iron pan.
Pan fry braised tofu until all sides are golden brown.
Again, it is best to serve the fried tofu hot immediately after frying.
I usually serve these fried tofu with chili sauce. Store-bought options like sambal oelek or sriracha is a great choice. If you are up to the challenge and want to serve these fried tofus with homemade chili sauce, you will be happy to try these recipes: