Aburaage is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of deep-fried, thinly sliced tofu. It is more popular than standard tofu because of the firm texture and ease to pick it up with chopsticks.
Different varieties of aburaage are used in Japanese cuisine including inari-age and astu-age. Inari-age is a kind of aburaage, smoldered with soy sauce, dashi (a kombu-based stock), sugar and mirin. Astu-age is a deeply fried tofu just like a steak that can be served with salads and miso soup.
Aburaage can be used in a number of traditional Japanese soups, stews and appetizers, being a highly adaptable food. Examples include: mixed rice (takikomi gohan), Inari-zushi, Kitsune Udon and Kinchaku,
Origin & Cultural Significance
The recipe for deep-fried tofu was initially developed by Tofu Hyakuchin in 1782, however, there is ambiguity about puffed tofu pouches. There is clear evidence of the existence of tofu pouches by 1853, and the inarizushi (pouches of tofu stuffed with vinegared rice) by 1968.
These are largely produced in factories due to their lightweight and long shelf life. Due to the high consumption rate, factories were producing about 300,000 to 450,000 pouches on a daily basis throughout the 1980s.
Inari-zushi derived its name from the Inari shrine whose God is considered as the God of industry, agriculture, fertility and worldly success. The symbol of the shrine is fox and aburaage is considered as the favorite food of foxes. Inari-zushi is also a sign of lucky charm and mothers in Japan usually make it before the exams of their children to please the god of Inari shrine.
Caution: Aburaage is an oily dish but you can blot off extra oil with a tissue paper.
Japanese Aburaage Recipe
- Firm Tofu - 19 oz block
- Peanut Oil
- Wrap the block of tofu in paper towel and place between two leveled hard surfaces. Allow to stand for an hour at room temperature to remove the excessive moisture.
- Cut it into the half inch or 1 cm slices
- Fill the pan with the oil and heat it to 121 degree Celsius.
- Add 2 or more slices according to the capacity of the pan and do not overcrowd.
- Flip the slices until expanded and fluffy, preferably for 6-8 minutes.
- Then remove and place on the wire rack.
- Fry and drain all the slices and then increase the temperature of the oil to 176 degree centigrade.
- Now, deep fry all the slices of tofu until golden brown.
- Remove the excessive oil by using a paper towel or rinsing the slices with hot water (optional).
- Serve the food or tightly wrap it in a plastic sheet and refrigerate for future use.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 71Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g