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Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric and Spiced Fried Tofu

There are so many delicious tofu dishes in Indonesia, and this tahu goreng bumbu kuning (turmeric and spiced fried tofu) is one of our favorite. First, tofu is braised in spiced broth until the liquid is dry. At this stage, the tofu is very flavorful and if you wish, you can consume it straight away. But, the most common method is to further dry the tofu in a strainer to get it as dry as possible, and then deep fry (or pan fry) until the surface is crispy and golden brown while the inside remains fluffy.

Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric and Spiced Fried Tofu

Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric and Spiced Fried Tofu

The spiced broth itself is made with Indonesian bay leaves (daun salam), lemongrass (sereh), shallot (bawang merah), garlic (bawang putih), candlenuts (kemiri), galangal (lengkuas), coriander powder (bubuk ketumbar), turmeric powder (bubuk kunyit), and salt. The same spiced broth can be used to prepare chicken as well, and the resulting dish is called ayam goreng bumbu kuning (turmeric and spiced fried chicken).

Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric and Spiced Fried Tofu

Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric and Spiced Fried Tofu

Tahu Goreng Bumbu Kuning - Turmeric and Spiced Fried Tofu

5.0 from 1 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe


  • 750 ml (3 cups) water
  • 2 lemongrass (Indonesian: sereh), bruised and knotted
  • 2 Indonesian bay leaves (Indonesian: daun salam)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (Indonesian: bubuk ketumbar)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (Indonesian: bubuk kunyit)
  • 2 blocks firm tofu (about 800 gram total weight), cut each block into 8 pieces
  • enough oil for deep frying
  • Spice paste (grind the following together)
  • 75 gram shallot (Indonesian: bawang merah)
  • 4 cloves garlic (Indonesian: bawang putih)
  • 6 candlenuts (Indonesian: kemiri)
  • 1 inch galangal (Indonesian: lengkuas)


  1. Combine water, lemongrass, bay leaves, salt, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and spice paste in a wok. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add tofu pieces into the wok, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until all the liquid is gone.
  3. Place the tofu into a strainer and make sure they are completely dry before deep frying (or pan frying) to reduce splatter.
  4. To deep fry: heat enough oil in a wok/pot for deep frying over medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough, deep fry tofu until golden brown. Strain to remove excess oil. Serve hot.
  5. To pan fry: heat 3 tablespoon oil in a non-stick frying pan (or a well seasoned cast iron skillet) over medium heat. Pan fry tofu until all sides are golden brown. Serve hot.
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Indonesian Kitchen


  • 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.

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