Whilst I’ve eaten tofu knots in Japan, they are an ingredient I hadn’t thought to cook at home until I read Bonnie Chung’s cookbook Tofu Tasty: Imaginative Tofu Recipes for Everyday. As she explains, they are traditionally added to soups and stews, but in this recipe, she has fried them instead to create a wonderful crisp and chewy texture. The punchy flavours of a sweet, sticky and spicy sauce complete this crowd-pleaser of a dish.
Find out more about the book in our full review of Bonnie Chung’s Tofu Tasty.
Sweet & Sticky Tofu Knots
For the tofu
- 100 g (3½ oz) dried golden tofu knots, soaked in hot water for 1 hour, then drained
- 100 g (3½ oz / ¾ cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 150 ml (5fl oz / 2⁄3 cup) vegetable oil
- toasted sesame seeds, to serve
- spring onions (scallions), finely sliced, to serve
For the sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp gochujang
- 3 tbsp clear honey
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar, malt vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
In a bowl, coat the softened tofu knots with the cornflour, until all the knobbly angles and curves are covered. Leave for 10 minutes to let the cornflour soak up the moisture around the tofu.
In a frying pan, heat the oil until bubbling-hot and add some of the tofu knots. Be sure not to crowd the pan; you may have to cook them in batches. After 2–3 minutes, flip them over. Some angles will be golden brown and crisping up. Keep turning them until each knot is crispy and golden. Drain on kitchen paper (paper towels). If you are not finishing the dish straight away, pop them into a medium oven to keep them warm and crispy.
Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl, then put in a clean saucepan. Place over a medium heat until the sauce bubbles and starts to reduce.
Throw the crispy tofu knots into the sweet, sticky sauce and mix to coat, then serve immediately, scattered with toasted sesame seeds and spring onions.
The recipe as given is vegetarian, but can be adapted into a vegan dish by substituting the honey with a natural alternative such as maple syrup, agave nectar or fruit-based molasses.
As a quick and easy recipe that can be pulled together from store cupboard ingredients, this is a great addition to your repertoire.
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Kavey Eats received a review copy of Tofu Tasty: Imaginative Tofu Recipes for Everyday by Bonnie Chung from publisher Pavilion. Photography by Yuki Sugiura.