served tahu gejrot

Tahu Gejrot: Crispy Fried Tofu in a Sweet & Spicy Sauce

Last Updated on March 26, 2024 by Damian

Welcome to another great and easy Indonesian recipe! This time I will write on tahu gejrot, fried tofu topped with a sweet and spicy sauce. Really great in flavor and easy to make!

To make tahu gejrot, simply fry some tofu, cook the sweet and spicy sauce and top the tofu using the sauce!

What is tahu gejrot?

Tahu gejrot is an Indonesian street food from the west of Java, usually served in a clay plate. It is directly translated to something like “spicy fried tofu”, depending on who you ask!

Usually, you will find a bunch of pre-fried tofu at a food stand, where a spice mix is made on the spot and combined with palm sugar, sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), vinegar and water. This will form the sweet and spicy sauce which is then topped on the fried tofu. See a video of the street food here.

Let’s get started on how to make tahu gejrot!

Step 1: Collect the ingredients

served tahu gejrot

Tahu Gejrot

Damian
Tahu gejrot! A great street food dish involving deep-fried tofu in a sweet and spicy sauce! Try this one yourself if you're into some traditional Indonesian street food.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 2 side dishes

Ingredients
  

  • 400 g tofu
  • 200 ml (sunflower) oil

Sauce & Spices

  • 3 shallots
  • 3 cabe rawits (bird's eye chillies)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp kecap manis
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 200 ml water
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Collect the ingredients
  • Fry the tofu
  • Making the sauce
  • Combine and serve
Keyword Tahu gejrot

What to consider when choosing ingredients

The base of the recipe here is the fried tofu and sweet and spicy sauce. The fried tofu you cannot really alter, except for the amounts you use. I found the amount of tofu was just never enough because this recipe is so nice!

For the sauce and spices, the watery sauce combined with the mashed garlic, shallot and chillies are very traditional to use. Change things as you wish, but keep this in mind.

I can highly recommend the garlic shallot and chillies as they are such a nice texture addition to the fried tofu (and visually appealing). The watery sauce gives a really nice taste, maybe choose different thicknesses by reducing or increasing the amount of water. I can imagine experiencing a bit of a thicker sauce can work out great!

Use different chillies if you wish, adapting the spice level or structure of your bite by also adding shallots and garlic. The amounts I used gave me a really great tahu gejrot experience!

Let’s continue with the steps to make the tahu gejrot!

Step 2: Fry the tofu

To start of, let’s take a look at the 400 g of tofu and cut it into bite-size cubes. I shortly placed the chopped tofu on some kitchen paper to soak up some moist before frying.

Tofu
Chopped tofu

Now it’s time to take a frying pan and heat up the oil. The amount you need really depends on the shape of the pan. Make sure the tofu is at least halfway covered with oil.

The pan you use should not be too flat but curved. You want just enough flat surface such that all tofu cubes can touch this surface. See the images, my pan worked out (almost) perfectly.

Next is to heat the oil, set the pan on high heat and wait a few minutes. Gently stick a piece of tofu in the oil using spaghetti pliers and see if the oil starts bubbling and singing. Not screaming! Remove the tofu if this isn’t the case and try again later. Adjust heat accordingly.

If this singing point is reached add all the tofu and set the heat to medium-high, you want to maintain the temperature and stop it from rising. Listen to the oil and hear what it tells you.

Tofu frying
Tofu frying advanced

Fry for a good 5 minutes and check the bottom of a tofu to see if there’s a solid crunchy layer formed. If yes, flip all the tofu and repeat. Do this until the tofu has a crunchy jacket all the way around.

Turn off the heat, remove the tofu from the oil and let it drain onto a kitchen paper.

Frying tofu close to done
Fried tofu

That’s it for the fried tofu! Let’s continue on making the sweet and spicy sauce for the tahu gejrot:

Step 3: Making the sauce

To make the sauce, simply start by taking all the ingredients, peel the shallot and garlic and crush them with the blade of your knife. Roughly make some cuts in the pounded ingredients to make it a bit smaller.

Next, take the chillies and roll them between your hands. This is to break up the seeds from the chillies on the inside. You want to remove these to make the spiciness less mild. If you’re up for a (very) spicy variant of the sauce, keep the seeds!

After rolling the chillies, cut them up roughly and remove the stem. Thoroughly wash them in a drainer to wash away all the seeds. When succesful, finely chop the chillies in rings, or half rings.

Sauce ingredients
Chopped ingredients

Again, I just crushed the shallot and onion with my knife, made a few rough chops and that’s it! Very easy.

Now add this mash into a boiling pot with the remaining sauce ingredients (water, kecap manis, vinegar, salt, palm sugar). Add the water in steps to get to a sauce thickness you prefer. You don’t have to use as much as stated.

Add to high heat and let the sauce heat up and thicken to a consistency you prefer. Remove the heat and you are all set! Have a taste and add more salt if needed.

Cooking sauce

On to the final step!

Step 4: Combine and serve

Now that you’ve prepared all ingredients, add the tahu (fried tofu) to a plate on which you will serve it and pour the sauce on top. The tahu should immediately absorb the sauce and looks to be dry, this might not be the case for thicker sauces. That’s it, serve hot and enjoy this wonderful recipe!

Consider serving tahu gejrot with rice, beef, chicken, you decide! I can recommend some other tempe side dishes and garlic turmeric rice, one of my favorite ways of cooking rice. Find the recipes below:

That’s it for this recipe, I hope you enjoyed it and let me know what you think! Please rate if you have tried it!

Served tahu gejrot

FAQ

How long does it take to deep fry tofu?

It typically takes around 5-7 minutes to deep fry tofu. If the pieces of tofu are cut into small, thin slices, it may take less time.

What is tahu gejrot in English?

Tahu Gejrot translates to “sliced fried tofu” in English.

What is tahu isi?

Tahu Isi, also referred to as “stuffed tofu,” is a delightful Indonesian dish. It features crispy bean curd pockets filled with a delectable combination of vegetables or meat, accompanied by a savory peanut sauce.

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