Tofu fritters

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about



Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

‘Strong arms are the secret for good food,’ Nyoman tells me as she rhythmically grinds the spice paste for her famed tahu perkedel. ‘And cooking from the heart.’ You could forego the grinding and use a blender for this heady aromatic mix, but don’t omit the care and love, a key component for these ethereally light, exceptionally delicious fritters.


  • 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) firm tofu, drained
  • 2 lime leaves, deveined and very finely chopped
  • 1 spring onion (scallion), finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Chinese celery leaves
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • oil, for deep-frying

Bumbu spice paste

  • ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 small red Asian shallots, peeled
  • 1 large red chilli, seeded
  • 1 cm (½ inch) ginger, peeled
  • 1 cm (½ inch) turmeric, peeled, or ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 3 candlenuts or 6 blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon sugar


Start by making the bumbu spice paste. Roughly chop all the fresh ingredients, then grind to a paste either with a pestle and mortar or in a food processor (with a just little water if needed to help the blades turn). Don’t make it too smooth - some chilli flecks are good here.

Transfer the bumbu to a large bowl and add the tofu. Mash together with a fork. Add the lime leaves, spring onion, celery leaves and two of the eggs. Mix well to a scrambled egg texture.

Form the tofu into slightly squashed golf balls, working gently. You want them strong enough to hold together, but don’t squeeze too hard, which will make them dense rather than fluffy.

Heat 3 cm ( inches) oil in a frying pan until bubbles form around the handle of a spoon. Working quickly, dip each fritter first into the remaining beaten egg, then into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry until crisp and golden all over. Drain on paper towels whilst you cook the rest.

Serve the crisp fritters with sambal and napkins.