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Tofu Tempura: Deep Fried Vegan Recipe

Crispy, battered tofu tempura is the ultimate deep fried food. Our tofu tempura recipe offers a light, crispy coating with a chewy tofu filling. Tofu tempura is perfect for dipping in soy sauce, serving in a katsu curry sauce, or enjoying alongside a steaming hot bowl of ramen!

Oh, and did we mention that our crispy, deep fried tofu tempura recipe is entirely vegan? That’s right, our tempura batter has zero dairy products. We’ve replaced the typical egg with the unusual addition of club soda for a light finish!

Keep reading to discover the delights of cooking vegan tofu tempura!

How to Make Tofu Tempura 

Ingredients 

  • 14 ounce packet of extra firm tofu
  • ½ cup of rice flour
  • ½ cup of all-purpose flour
  • ¾ tsp of baking soda
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • 1 cup of club soda*
  • Frying oil (enough to submerge your tempura tofu strips)

*For the recipe to work, you need the club soda to be as cold as possible, so keep it in the fridge before you start preparing tempura tofu. 

Directions

  1. The first step towards the best tempura tofu is to freeze your packet of tofu. This gives the tofu a much chewier, firmer texture that’s perfect for deep fried tofu recipes. Use a tofu press to press out as much liquid as you can from the block of tofu before cutting the block into tempura sized strips. Place your tofu strips into a resealable container and freeze overnight. The next day, allow the tofu to thaw, then press out any excess water a second time. 
  2. When you’re ready to start preparing your tempura batter, you need to remember to fry your tofu right away, as the batter itself needs to be cold for the best results. You can set up your skillet or pot and start heating up enough frying oil to cover your tempura strips while you prepare the batter (it doesn’t take too long).
  3. Prepare your batter by first measuring out rice flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda into a mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients together and pour in cold club soda. You don’t need the batter to be smooth; lumpy is fine. 
  4. Your oil should be hot now, so it’s time to learn how to deep fry tofu. Take your first tofu strip and give it a good coating of tempura batter. Place it straight into the hot oil and let it cook for 2 minutes. Remove the tempura tofu when it’s crispy and place it on paper towels or a drying rack to remove excess oil.
  5. Repeat the process, frying tofu in small batches to give them enough space to cook without touching. 
  6. Serve your tempura tofu with dipping sauces or as part of a larger Japanese-inspired dinner!

Tofu Tempura Preparation Tips and FAQ

What frying oil should I use?

When you’re learning how to fry tofu, you need to select an appropriate frying oil. The classic choice is vegetable oil, as this is widely available and cost-effective. 

It’s not the healthiest option, though, and you could try other oils such as coconut oil or peanut oil if you want lower numbers of saturated fats and a lower number of fried tofu calories!

How long does it take to deep fry tofu?

Remember that it doesn’t take long to deep fry tofu. If you want the coating to be nice and light, you don’t want to overfry your tofu strips. You also need to make sure your oil is hot enough before you add your tofu strips.

If you place one strip into the oil first, then it should stay afloat as the oil bubbles up. If the tofu strip sinks, then the oil isn’t hot enough. Remove the strip and wait a few more minutes. 

When the oil is hot enough, you need to leave your tofu strips to fry for 2 minutes minimum and for no longer than 3 minutes (depending on how large your tofu strips have been cut). You can turn the tofu strips as they bubble away, deep frying, to give them an even, crispy finish! 

How do you keep tempura tofu crispy?

The best tempura tofu is served fresh. After deep frying, you can keep your tofu tempura crispy by leaving it on a rack and placing it in a slightly warmed oven. This keeps the tempura hot while you have a chance to prepare the rest of your tempura strips and any other food.

Why do I need to freeze the tofu?

You don’t have to freeze the tofu in advance, but freezing does add a lot to the texture of the tempura tofu. The freezing and thawing process gives the tofu a much firmer, almost chewy texture, which is perfect for this dish. Without it, the tofu can easily become too soft as it’s deep fried in the oil, leading to mushy tempura sticks!

Tofu Tempura: A Crispy Vegan Recipe!

That’s it for our tofu tempura, a vegan-friendly recipe that’s still incredibly crispy and absolutely delicious. Our light batter is easy to prepare, and it takes only minutes to fry up a batch of tofu tempura for dinner.

Why not save our tofu tempura recipe for your next Japanese-inspired dinner?

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