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.
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
- 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)
- Combine water, lemongrass, bay leaves, salt, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and spice paste in a wok. Bring to a boil.
- Add tofu pieces into the wok, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until all the liquid is gone.
- Place the tofu into a strainer and make sure they are completely dry before deep frying (or pan frying) to reduce splatter.
- 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.
- 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.