Stinky tofu is a popular snack in Southeast Asian countries. Read the Tastessence article to find easy-to-follow recipes that won’t take much of your time in the kitchen.
Stinky tofu, better known in many Asian countries as chòu dòufu, is a fermented tofu dish that has a strong pungent aroma. As Taiwan’s night food market culture started to get popular, different flavors of tofu was prepared. It is used in cooking snacks and side dishes for lunch in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Mainland China, and of course, Taiwan.
Stinky-Wok Fried Tofu
- Solid stinky tofu, 1 lb.
- Green onions, chopped, ⅓ cup
- Cooking oil, 4 tablespoons
- Cornstarch, 2 tablespoons
- Chili sauce, 2 tablespoons
- Barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons
- Soy sauce, 2 tablespoons
- Cilantro, for garnish
Place the tofu on a cutting board and cut 8―12 rectangle wedges. Pour some cornstarch in a bowl, and coat the pieces of tofu. In a wok, heat 4 tablespoons of cooking oil on medium-high heat. Once you see light smoke coming from the oil, add tofu pieces to stir-fry it. As you are frying the tofu, be prepared to get the strong odor again; it basically smells like melted blue cheese. Fry all sides till they turn golden brown and crispy. Bring them out of the wok, and place on some paper towels. Take 3 different bowls to pour soy sauce, chili sauce, and barbecue sauce in. These will be your dipping sauces for the tofu. In a serving platter, arrange the wok-fried tofu, and sprinkle cilantro and chopped green onion on top.
Stinky-Spicy Korean Tofu (Tubu Bokkum-Bap)
- Firm stinky tofu, drained, pressed, and sliced, 1 lb.
- Oil, 3 tablespoons
- Gochujang (Korean condiment), 3 tablespoons
- Water, 3 tablespoons
- Soy sauce, 2 tablespoons
- Sugar, 1⅔ tablespoons
- Sesame oil, 1 tablespoons
- Cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon
- Broccoli, chopped, ¼ lb.
- Green onions, chopped, 4
- Garlic cloves, sliced, 4―5
- Carrot, julienne, 1
- White onion, sliced, 1
In a large pan, sauté garlic, carrots, and onions in sesame oil, until onions turn golden brown in color. Take a small mixing bowl to add gochujang, cayenne pepper, sugar, and soy sauce together. Depending on how hot you want this mix to be, add or reduce cayenne peppers as gochujang is also spicy. Now add broccoli, green onions, spicy sauce min, and tofu in the pan. Mix everything together gently till the vegetables and tofu get covered with the spicy sauce. You can add the water now (depending on the sauce consistency you are looking for). Cover the pan and let the ingredients steam for few minutes. Take the pan off the heat and pour some more sesame oil in it. Mix everything properly and serve hot over boiled rice.
Make the Tofu Yourself
- In a big bucket, add pure soy milk (not the flavored store bought soy milk). The milk contents should have pure soybeans and water in it. You can find it at any Asian grocery stores. Make sure the soy milk is white and pure. Let the soy milk sit outside for few weeks till it turns stale, starts to get molds, and changes its color to gray.
- Many times, shrimp heads are also added to add the “smelly” part of tofu. Another method to make the brine is by adding old winter melon rinds that are decomposing for over a year.
- After the brine is ready, add some salt in it. The amount of salt added depends on your liking of how salty your tofu should be. Purchase several slabs of firm tofu and place them in with the brine for few hours. Make sure you don’t leave the tofu in for more than 6 hours or it will make your tofu unbearably funky.
- There you have it. Now you know how to make tofu by yourself. All there’s left is to cook it.