This crispy panko fried tofu served with sweet Sukiyaki sauce is quick and easy. Soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, this dish is simply irresistible!
Who doesn't love crispy tofu bites? And how about a sweet dipping sauce to go with it? This easy dish is ready in minutes and is definitely one you will be making over and over again! This crispy panko fried tofu has a soft interior and is super crispy on the outside, just how it should be! Perfect as a starter, side-dish, or snack! And, although pan fried, it doesn't need a whole lot of oil or deep frying. Just half an inch of oil goes a very long way!
What is Panko?
Panko is a type of flaky breadcrumb which is very popular in Japanese cuisine. It is typically used in tempura style meals such as seafood and vegetables. Compared to regular breadcrumbs, panko is made of larger flakes which give more texture and crispiness to your dish. Panko is also lower in fat, calories, and sodium than breadcrumbs, but higher in fibre, making it a healthier alternative to breadcrumbs! It is usually readily available in supermarkets or Asian food markets worldwide.
What is Sukiyaki Sauce?
Sukiyaki sauce is a type of sauce used in Japan, made from soy sauce, mirin and seasoning. It can be bought readily made, but for this recipe, I will be making Sukiyaki sauce from scratch and you won't believe just how easy it is! Sukiyaki sauce is used for cooking, stir-frying, and even deep frying meat and vegetables. In this recipe, I'll be making a sweet sukiyaki sauce for dipping panko fried tofu!
How to Make Crispy Panko Fried Tofu with Sukiyaki Sauce (Step by Step)
This recipe is super easy and can be made in less than 30 minutes! For the Crispy Panko Friend Tofu, you will need 7 ingredients, whilst for the Sukiyaki Sauce, you will need 4 ingredients!
Ingredients for Crispy Panko Fried Tofu
For the fried tofu, you will need the following:
- Tofu: this needs to be extra-firm! You cannot use soft or silken tofu, as it will crumble whilst preparing/ cooking.
- Panko Breadcrumbs: avoid using regular breadcrumbs as these do not provide the texture and crispiness required for this recipe
- Cumin and Salt: for seasoning
- Cornflour: (or cornstarch). This, along with the milk, will help the tofu stick to the panko and become crispy
- Milk: Semi-skimmed or whole milk is ideal. This will provide the liquid element needed to stick to the batter 🙂
- Oil: (Sunflower oil is perfect). This is needed to fry the tofu. No need for too much though, no deep frying is required here, just pan-frying!
Ingredients for Sukiyaki Sauce
For the Sukiyaki sauce, you will need the following:
- Soy Sauce
- Brown Sugar
Making Crispy Panko Fried Tofu
To make the perfect fried tofu, start by slicing your tofu and then pressing each slice with kitchen paper to remove as much moisture as possible. I prefer to slice my tofu before drying it since if you dry the whole block, a lot of moisture can still be stuck inside.
Then, cut your tofu into cubes. Cut these as thick and as large as you want them to be, but I suggest cutting in bite-sized pieces (about 1 inch). Just make sure to slice and cut the tofu evenly to ensure even cooking throughout.
Dip each piece of tofu into cornflour, then into the milk, and finally into a mixture of panko, salt, and cumin. Place the coated tofu on a plate.
Grab a skillet (I prefer using a cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan) and heat the sunflower oil until it starts sizzling. Make sure to cover the bottom of the skillet (I like to use a small skillet) and a bit more (half the thickness of your tofu would be great). Avoid using the oil before it starts to sizzle.
Very carefully, and using kitchen tongs, place the coated tofu in the sizzling oil. Fry, with the lid on, for around 3 minutes or until the bottom side has turned into a nice golden brown). Then, using your tongs, turn the tofu over and cook until browned on the other side (a further 2 -3 minutes). Please note that frying time highly depends on the thickness of your tofu.
Remove from skillet and place the tofu on a plate with kitchen paper to absorb any extra oil from frying. Serve warm with sukiyaki sauce, green vegetables or topped with sliced green onions.
Making the Sukiyaki Sauce
Making the sauce takes less than 5 minutes! Just place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until the brown sugar has dissolved. Add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter sauce! Serve as a dipping sauce with the crispy panko fried tofu.
Storing and Serving Panko Fried Tofu
Store any leftover tofu in an airtight container and keep chilled for 3-4 days. You can serve fried tofu cold or reheated in a microwave or a skillet.
What Makes this Tofu so Crispy?
Three things: Drying the tofu properly before using it (ideally after slicing), panko breadcrumbs, and cornflour. Cornflour helps the breadcrumbs to "stick" to the tofu, whilst panko provide that crispiness and texture needed for a great end result!
Can I Bake the Tofu Instead of Frying It?
Although you can certainly bake panko battered tofu in the oven (210 degrees for 15-20 minutes on each side, depending on thickness), I highly advise against doing so. When I tried doing this in the oven, the tofu was a lot harder than the fried version, and the panko failed to turn into a nice golden brown (see photo below!). In itself, panko is ideal for frying because it absorbs less oil and grease compared to regular breading, and I definitely prefer to use it that way!
Have you tried these Crispy Panko Fried Tofu with Sukiyaki Sauce? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and don't forget to rate the recipe! Also, don't forget to follow Baked Fig on Pinterest, and Instagram to stay updated with any new recipes! Also, check out this Tofu Katsu Curry Recipe [vegan].
Crispy Panko Fried Tofu with Sukiyaki Sauce
Crispy Panko Fried Tofu
- 500 g extra-firm tofu
- 100 g panko
- 250 mL milk (semi skimmed or whole)
- 3-4 tbsp cornflour
- 60-100 mL sunflower oil for frying
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp sake
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
Crispy Panko Fried Tofu
- Cut extra-firm tofu into equally-thick slices and use a kitchen towel to dry each slice from both sides (Place a paper towel at the bottom and one on top of each slice and place a heavy item on top, like a small skillet). Once dried well, cut tofu into equal-sized cubes (bite-size).
- Place cornflour in a small bowl, milk in another bowl, and panko breadcrumbs with salt and cumin in another bowl. Dip each tofu cube into cornflour (coating well from each side), then into the milk, and finally into the panko mixture. Place coated tofu pieces on a plate.
- Place sunflower oil in a small skillet, making sure to cover the bottom or slightly more (at least half the thickness of your tofu). Heat oil in a small skillet on high heat until it starts sizzling.
- Carefully, place each coated tofu piece in sizzling oil using kitchen tongs (you may want to do this in batches). Cover the skillet, and fry for 2-3 minutes, until the bottom has turned golden brown. Turn tofu and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until golden brown throughout.
- Remove from heat and place on kitchen paper to drain extra oil. Serve with Sukiyaki sauce and green onions.
- Place all ingredients in a small saucepan on medium heat. Warm for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly until brown sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and serve as a dipping sauce with fried tofu.