Deep fried tofu (豆泡, dou pao) is also called tofu bubbles (豆腐泡, dou fu pao) and oily tofu (油豆腐, you dou fu) in Chinese cooking.
There are two types of deep fried tofu that are often used in Asian cooking.
(1) Chinese deep fried tofu squares (Dou Pao) (see the picture above)
(2) Japanese deep fried tofu pockets (Aburaage)
In both cases, the tofu is deep fried until its surface turns golden and its texture turns fluffy and airy. However, the Japanese type is actually deep fried twice, which results in a more airy and fluffy texture. On Omnivore’s Cookbook, I will refer the Chinese type as “deep fried tofu” and the Japanese type as “aburaage”.
Both types of deep fried tofu can be used as an alternative to meat and poultry, and turn a meat dish into a vegan one. They taste slightly greasy by themselves and have a meaty texture. They absorb flavor very well and add good mouthfeel to a dish. They are widely used in stir fried dishes, noodle soups, stews, and hot pots.
To get an idea of how to use deep fried tofu, you can refer to the recipes below:
You can find packaged deep fried tofu at Asian markets.
Deep fried tofu should be stored in the fridge and consumed as soon as possible. Depending on the packaging method, it stays fresh for 2 to 5 days.