Soft Tofu in Tomato Sauce | 茄汁日本豆腐

Yields: 2 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 20 Mins Total Time: 30 Mins

A friend’s child has recently decided to go vegan and we were talking about tofu dishes that appeal to kids. The first dish that came to mind after Vegan Fish N Chips was this fried soft tofu in tomato sauce. There are two permutations of this dish. The common one that we often see at tze char (cooked food) hawker stalls has fried soft tofu with frozen three veg in a clear sauce. Because we as a household are staunchly against frozen three veg, I am making the tomato sauce version.

In Singapore and most of Chinese-speaking Asia, we call this soft tofu 日本豆腐 or Japanese tofu. It is super popular because it is so silky and, come on, it’s round. This soft tofu comes in a cylindrical plastic tube. But, according to a Japanese friend, this tofu is not actually even a Japanese thing! Swipe right to suundubu and now I’m thinking that maybe the Chinese packaging people got confused between Korean and Japanese and named it wrong.

Anyway, this dish is super tasty! The tofu is first coated in cornstarch then fried so that it has a crispy exterior. Then it is drenched in a thick and yummy tomato sauce. I love having this with plain rice and blanched green vegetables.

Important: When you are buying this tofu, make sure it does not contain eggs as some versions do. The egg tofu has a yellow tinge.


  • To open, slice the tofu tube into half using a sharp knife and gently slide the tofu out.
  • A flat-bottomed spatula and a non-stick pan will help you a lot in the frying stage.
  • Instead of doing a shallow fry, you can also deep fry. It is just that shallow fry gives you more control.
  • If making for adults, do 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp tomato sauce. If making for kids, do the opposite.
  • Use fresh tomatoes for extra tang!
  • You can also use chilli sauce or add bird’s eye chillies for a spicy version.

Share / Save:


0/14 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
  • Sauce


0/12 Instructions
  • Take the tofu out carefully and cut them into 1" thick slices. Won't worry about any crappy bits or broken slices, we will use them later.
  • Coat the nice slices on both sides thoroughly with corn starch.
  • Fill a shallow pan with about an inch of oil over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Gently slide the tofu slices in. Now, LEAVE THEM ALONE.
  • To distract yourself from touching the tofu while it's frying, mix up all the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
  • Carefully check if the tofu 'skin' has hardened on one side. You can tell this by whether they slide freely along the bottom of the pan. If so, very very gently turn the tofu over. Violence is not the answer at this stage..
  • When both sides have become hardened, turn the heat up to high so the tofu skin turns yellow or golden (depends on how hard you want it). Remove from oil and set aside for later.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat and fry the garlic.
  • Wantonly chop the crappy leftover tofu bits. This is where you can use violence!
  • Add the sauce and the tofu into the pan.
  • Cook until the sauce has a thick and slightly sticky consistency.
  • Gently slide the tofu back into the pan and sprinkle with chopped spring onions. Using your spatula, gently cover the tofu with sauce. Don't make any sudden frying motions. If you are using a wok, you can do that circular motion thing to coat the tofu.
  • Serve hot with a drizzle of sesame oil and/or ground white pepper.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *