Monday, September 28, 2009

Fried Tokwa (Fried Soybean Curd)

“Tokwa” is the Philippine term for tofu. A soft cheese-like food made from soybeans and produced by curdling soya milk with a coagulant or curdling agent. The curds are then pressed into a solid block. While tofu is a bland tasting product on its own, it has the natural ability to easily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients such as from spices and marinades. In recipes, it acts like a sponge and will easily soak up any flavor that is added into it. So its taste is generally dependent on the combined taste of all the other ingredients. The rule is: if you can make a tasty sauce or soup, then you can make a tasty tofu dish.

Often used as a meat substitute in vegetarian dishes, tofu is rich in high-quality protein and calcium. It is a good source of soy protein and isoflavones, both of which confer promising health benefits. It is also a good source of B-vitamins and iron. While 50 percent of the calories in tofu come from fat, a 4-ounce serving of tofu contains just 6 grams of fat. Thus, it is low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol. Tofu is also very low in sodium, making it a perfect food for people on sodium-restricted diets.

It is an exceptional food, not only because it is highly nutritious but because it can be prepared in such a remarkably wide variety of ways. It is a dietary staple of Asian cuisines for hundreds of years and has recently become popular in Western vegetarian cooking. It became so popular, that it is celebrated with its own annual festival and has almost become synonymous with vegetarianism itself.

In the Philippines, it is so popular when prepared as “Tokwa at Baboy” (Pork and Tofu) with its tasty “vinegar+soy sauce+sugar” sauce. It is eaten as a snack on its own or perfect accompaniment with other popular Filipino dishes such as “Goto” or “Lumpia” (Vegetable Spring Roll). For this post, I decided to prepare only the “tokwa” (without the pork) intended as a snack and appetizer for our group on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The main ingredients of course is the wonderful tofu, about 2 blocks. Sliced it into smaller blocks of about ¾ inch thick and fried in hot oil until crispty on the outside.

The other ingredients are about 3/4 cup of white vinegar, any other type of vinegar is alright, about 2 tbsp of soy sauce, about 4 tbsp of brown sugar, 1 tbsp of minced onion, 1 pc chili pepper, minced (optional) and 1 tbsp of finely minced celery.

Combine the liquid ingredients and let it boil on low heat in a small sauce pan. Stir thoroughly when it boils and add in the sugar. Continue simmering until the sugar is totally dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let to slightly cool. Add the other ingredients and stir once again. As mentioned above, this will be the basis of the final taste of the dish therefore it is very important that you get the right sweet, sour and salty taste. You can adjust it according to your preference. You will have this sweet-sourly-slightly salty sauce:

Cut the fried tofu into bite sizes. A quick sudden chop of a sharp knife is all you need to manage the crispy edges of the fried tofu. Arrange the chopped tofu in a bowl and pour some of the sauce. Do this in batches to avoid over crowding the tofu which might result to soggy texture. The combination of the crispy edge and soft delicate curd inside makes this dish distinctly delicious.

Simple and easy, but really good. There are so many other ways to enjoy this healthy food. Its uses are limitless and possibilities are endless. Enjoy! c“,)


  1. perfect match for goto or arrozcaldo..... am starving now....

  2. i will try your tofu recipes... thanks for sharing!


  4. i guess there are many of you who really love this wonderful food....i am close to being one...:)

  5. how many ounces are there in a block of tokwa?



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