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Thai deep fried tofu (เต้าหู้ทอด) with sweet and sour chilli peanut sauce

This Thai fried bean curd recipe is based on the street food snack commonly found in Thailand. These pillowy tofu pieces deep fried until crispy, served with a sweet chilli and peanut sauce, are a crowd pleaser. This is a great recipe to convince someone of the merits of tofu. It's also very fast and easy to make. I've included recipes for two versions of the dipping sauce. Both are great but the second one is just a little more complex in flavour.
Cuisine: Thai



  • 300 grams extra firm tofu (approximately) See notes
  • 500 millilitres water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon MSG optional, but recommended
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

The easy sauce / Nam jim 1

  • 60 millilitres white vinegar ¼ cup
  • 45 grams white sugar 3 tablespoons
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½-1 long red chilli any mild variety will be fine, finely chopped
  • Pinch MSG optional
  • 3 tablespoons ground roasted peanuts
  • Chopped fresh coriander optional

The more complex sauce / Nam jim 2

  • 60 grams white granulated sugar ¼ cup
  • 65 grams soft palm sugar ¼ cup
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • Pinch MSG optional
  • 40 millilitres white vinegar 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons
  • 30 millilitres tamarind liquid 2 tablespoons
  • 30 millilitres water 2 tablespoons
  • 1 long red chilli finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons ground roasted peanuts


Make the dipping sauce

  • To make the easy sauce: mix vinegar, sugar, salt, chilli, and MSG (if using) together in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook until the sugar has dissolved and the consistency is more syrupy than water. When you’re ready to serve, add the peanuts and optional coriander.
  • To make the more complex sauce: combine the sugars, salt, MSG (if using), vinegar, tamarind liquid, water, and chilli in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer until the sugars have dissolved and the consistency is syrupy. When ready to serve, add the peanuts.

Prepare the tofu

  • Choose your tofu shape (cubes or triangles). For cubes cut the tofu into 2 ½-3 centimetre blocks. For triangles, cut the block of tofu in half lengthways to make two long rectangles. Cut each of these pieces into three square (ish) shapes. Slice each of the squares diagonally into rectangles.
  • If you don’t plan to use the salt brine method, skip to the next step. Add the water, salt, and MSG to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the tofu and turn the heat down to a low simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain the tofu and place the pieces on kitchen roll or a tea towel for a further 15 minutes. Blot any excess moisture from the surface (there should be none or very little).
  • Pour enough oil into a wok to be around 3 inches deep. Heat to 180-190 degrees Celsius. Add the tofu and fry for a fe minutes, until the surface is evenly golden and the edges are crispy. Remove from the hot fat with a mesh strainer or spider spoon and shake away excess oil. Serve immediately.


The recipe is easily increased by simply frying more tofu and making more sauce.