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Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric Fried Tofu

These Indonesian turmeric fried tofu has a crispy outside and is very flavorful, juicy, and tender inside. They look deceptively plain, but you won't be stopping with just one once you start sinking your teeth into them.
Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric Fried Tofu.

Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric Fried Tofu.

There are many fried tofu recipes in Indonesian cuisine, but Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning (turmeric fried tofu) is my top choice for fried tofus.

Turmeric fried tofu looks plain and simple, but they smell amazingly delicious, and every bite is so flavorful.

You can serve this with steamed rice for lunch or dinner. They are also great for tea time as it is common for Indonesians to enjoy Gorengan (fried food) as snacks with hot tea or hot coffee.

It is difficult to stop with just one. The freshly fried tofu makes people want to keep eating until the whole plate is clean.

I usually serve this with homemade chili sauce, like Sambal Terasi (chili sauce with shrimp paste) or Sambal Tomat Kecap (tomato chili relish). Many Indonesian also enjoy turmeric fried tofu with fresh bird-eye chilies.

Ingredients for tahu goreng bumbu kuning (turmeric fried tofu): firm tofu, garlic, shallot, galangal, lemongrass, candlenuts, Indonesian bay leaves, turmeric, coriander, and salt.

Ingredients for tahu goreng bumbu kuning (turmeric fried tofu): firm tofu, garlic, shallot, galangal, lemongrass, candlenuts, Indonesian bay leaves, turmeric, coriander, and salt.

Ingredients for Indonesian Turmeric Fried Tofu

  • firm/extra-firm tofu
  • garlic
  • shallot, or use onion
  • galangal
  • candlenuts, or use macadamia nuts
  • lemongrass
  • Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam), omit if you can’t find it
  • coriander powder
  • turmeric powder
  • salt

Firm vs. Extra Firm Tofu

To make sure that the tofu keeps it shape and not falling apart, it is best to go with extra-firm tofu. I usually get the four packs firm tofu from Costco. Since they are firm and not extra-firm, some of my tofu usually ends up slightly blemished. They are still delicious, just not as pretty. :)

(1) Cut each block of tofu into 8 pieces. (2) Make the spice paste. (3) Mix spice paste with water, turmeric, coriander, salt, lemongrass, and Indonesian bay leaves. Add tofu pieces. (4) Simmer until the sauce is dry or almost dry.

(1) Cut each block of tofu into 8 pieces. (2) Make the spice paste. (3) Mix spice paste with water, turmeric, coriander, salt, lemongrass, and Indonesian bay leaves. Add tofu pieces. (4) Simmer until the sauce is dry or almost dry.

Step 1: Braising the tofu blocks in a spiced broth

Cut each block of tofu into eight pieces. You should get a total of 16 pieces of tofu.

Puree shallot, garlic, candlenuts, and galangal into a smooth paste.

TIPS: If the paste feels chunky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water into the food processor/blender and blend again for a smoother paste.

Mix the spice paste with water, lemongrass, Indonesian bay leaves, salt, coriander powder, and turmeric powder in a cooking pot and bring to a boil.

Add tofu into the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the tofu until the broth is dry or close to dry.

TIPS: Once the broth is about 50%, stir the tofu every 10-15 minutes to prevent the tofu from sticking, especially if you are not using a non-stick pot.

Strain braised tofu until dry before frying to prevent the oil from splattering.

(Top) Strain braised tofu until dry. (Bottom) Deep fry braised tofu until golden brown.

(Top) Strain braised tofu until dry. (Bottom) Deep fry braised tofu until golden brown.

Step 2 (Option 1): Deep-frying the braised tofu

Fill a pot with two inches of oil for deep frying and turn on the heat to a medium. The oil is ready when it reaches 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).

TIPS: If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use a bamboo chopstick to tell if the oil is hot or not. Dip a bamboo chopstick into the hot oil. If there are air bubbles around the chopstick, the oil is ready for frying.

Deep fry tofu until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Please don’t crowd the pot to keep the oil hot. It is better to fry the tofu in smaller batches.

Remove fried tofu from the hot oil and strain over a wire rack to keep them crispy.

Transfer the strained fried tofu to a serving plate and serve them immediately.

Serve Indonesian turmeric fried tofu immediately once they are fried with your choice of chili sauce.

Serve Indonesian turmeric fried tofu immediately once they are fried with your choice of chili sauce.

Step 2 (Option 2): Pan-frying the braised tofu

Although I think it is best to deep fry the tofu, you can also pan-fry them if you prefer.

Heat about three tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. You can also use a well-seasoned cast-iron pan.

Pan fry braised tofu until all sides are golden brown.

Again, it is best to serve the fried tofu hot immediately after frying.

These Indonesian turmeric fried tofu will be one of the most flavorful tofu dish you will ever try.

These Indonesian turmeric fried tofu will be one of the most flavorful tofu dish you will ever try.

Serve turmeric fried tofu with chili sauce

I usually serve these fried tofu with chili sauce. Store-bought options like sambal oelek or sriracha is a great choice. If you are up to the challenge and want to serve these fried tofus with homemade chili sauce, you will be happy to try these recipes:

More Indonesian tofu recipes to try

Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric Fried Tofu.

Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric Fried Tofu.

Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric Fried Tofu

5.0 from 7 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson

Categories:

Cuisine:

Ingredients:

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (750 ml) water
  • 2 lemongrass, bruised and knotted
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam) (Note 1)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 blocks (900 gram / 2 lb) firm/extra-firm tofu
  • enough oil for deep frying
  • Spice paste (grind the following)
  • 75 gram (2.5 oz) shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri) (Note 2)
  • 1 inch galangal

Instructions

  1. Cut: Cut each block of tofu into eight pieces. You should get a total of 16 pieces of tofu.
  2. Braise: Boil the spice paste with water, lemongrass, Indonesian bay leaves, salt, coriander powder, and turmeric powder in a cooking pot. Add tofu into the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the tofu until the broth is dry or close to dry.
  3. Strain: Strain braised tofu until dry before frying to prevent the oil from splattering.
  4. Deep-fry (option 1): Fill a pot with two inches of oil for deep frying and turn on the heat to a medium. The oil is ready when it reaches 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius). Deep fry tofu until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
    TIPS: If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use a bamboo chopstick to tell if the oil is hot or not. Dip a bamboo chopstick into the hot oil. If there are air bubbles around the chopstick, the oil is ready for frying.
  5. Pan-fry (option 2): Heat three tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Pan fry braised tofu until all sides are golden brown.
  6. Serve: Transfer fried tofu to a serving plate and serve them immediately.

Notes

  • (1) Omit Indonesian bay leaves if you don't have it.
  • (2) Substitute candlenuts with an equal amount of macadamia nuts.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen

Comments

  • Wendy Wendy says:

    I have never tried infusing flavor into tofu cubes this way and am excited to try! The turmeric gives such a beautiful yellow color!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Give it a try Wendy. And if you like the flavor, we also commonly cook our chicken this way in Indonesia. :)

  • Holly | Beyond Kimchee Holly | Beyond Kimchee says:

    I can smell the fragrance through the monitor. Lovely tofu recipe!

    • Anita Anita says:

      Thanks for dropping by Holly :) This is one of my favorite tofu recipe since I can make a huuuuuge batch if I want to, hehe.

  • JW JW says:

    How long would it take for the liquid to dry up? And if using chicken, does it need to be completely drained too before deep frying? Thanks.

    • Anita Anita says:

      It's okay if it's not completely dry. But you will want to place the tofu over a strainer to drain as much as possible since it will splatter everywhere when frying otherwise.

      • JW JW says:

        Hi Anita, I meant in step 2 when you cook the tofu in the spiced broth until all the liquid is gone -- how long does it normally take for this liquid to dry up? I'm trying to see if I need to make this over 2 days or it can be done in a span of one hour right before dinner. Thanks.

        • Anita Anita says:

          Hi JW, it definitely takes more than one hour for it to dry up. That said, you can of course just cook for one hour without the liquid completely dries up, though the taste will not be as intense.

          • JW JW says:

            Got it. Thanks!

  • Kojiberry Kojiberry says:

    Made this and just simmered the tofu for less than one hour. They turned out to be really good. Next time will wait till the liquid is evaporated. Btw, I also appreciate that you put the amount of shallots in grams as the shallots here are larger than in Indonesia.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Yay! I am happy you love this dish. And yes, shallots in the US is super humongous compared to what is commonly available in Indonesia. I was quite shocked too the first time I see shallot here in the US.

  • Neha Neha says:

    Oh wow I have never tried tofu with turmeric and this one looks so good! I need to try this out.

  • kushigalu kushigalu says:

    Love tofu in any form. Thanks for the tips here. I will try this out soon.

  • Jill Jill says:

    What a delicious and flavor FULL recipe for tofu. Thank you!

  • Ieva Ieva says:

    I had to omit the bay leaves, as I simply couldn't find any anywhere, but the dish was still extremely flavoursome! Your tofu recipes are the best!

  • Charla Charla says:

    Fried tofu is my absolute weakness so I'm looking forward to trying this.

  • Shu-Chun Shu-Chun says:

    These tofu are delicious. Overall, it's easy to make and a crowd pleaser.

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