Tofu Isobe-yaki is crunchy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside, and FULL of flavour. This crispy nori tofu is quick, easy and perfect for meal prep! Serve as a appetizer, side dish or as a main with rice and vegetables.
I’m sure it’s no surprise by now how much I LOVE tofu. There are so many ways to enjoy tofu in Japanese cuisine: stir fried, deep fried, pan fried, simmered, steamed or even raw!
Today, I’m sharing another pan fried tofu recipe: Tofu Isobe-yaki. My mom used to make this dish with chicken to pack in our bento lunches, but it’s incredibly easy to make with tofu for a plant based version. Served fresh, it’s light and crispy on the outside, soft and flavourful on the inside and the perfect accompaniment with rice. As a bonus, it tastes delicious at room temperature so it’s great for meal prep and to pack in lunches.
What is Tofu Isobe-Yaki? (Nori Tofu)
In Japanese, Isobe means rocky seashore, which have a lot of seaweed surrounding them. So dishes with seaweed is referred to as “isobe –“. Yaki means grilled or bake, so combine those two words together and you get ‘seaweed grilled’ which essentially means something grilled with seaweed. The most commonly known isobe yaki is mochi with seaweed. Tofu isobe yaki is similar, but with tofu.
There are a few variations of tofu isobe-yaki. Some wrap nori around the tofu like my isobeyaki potato mochi whereas some use aonori, which is dried fine green laver. I grew up eating both variations, but I’ll be sharing the version using aonori.
Ingredients (+Substituions) for Tofu Isobe-Yaki
All you need is 6 ingredients to make this delicious tofu dish.
- Extra firm tofu: or firm tofu. Press using a tofu press or by wrapping it with a kitchen cloth and placing a heavy object on top.
- Soy Sauce
- Japanese mayonnaise: Also known as kewpie mayonnaise. You can find eggless kewpie mayo in stores or make your own with my vegan kewpie mayo recipe!
- Cake flour: Cake flour makes a lighter crispy crust however you can also use all purpose flour or gluten free all purpose flour.
- Aonori: for flavour! Alternatively, you can use nori. Shred the nori into small pieces of wrap each piece of tofu with a thin piece of nori.
How to Make Tofu Isobe-Yaki
- Remove tofu from package and press to remove excess moisture (about 10 minutes). Slice the tofu about 1 cm (0.4 inch) in thickness.
- Add soy sauce, mayonnaise, sugar and pepper to a Tupperware and whisk to combine. Add the tofu and coat with the sauce. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Add the cake flour, water, aonori and salt to a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Heat a pan over medium to medium high heat and add enough oil to coat the pan. Dip the pieces of tofu into the mixture and cook each side until crispy and golden brown (about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes on each side).
- Serve and enjoy!
More delicious tofu recipes to try:
- Crunchy Fire Sauce Tofu
- Misoyaki Eggplant & Tofu
- Teriyaki Tofu Donburi
- Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu
- Coconut Crusted Tofu
- Kung Pao Tofu
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
If you recreate this Tofu Isobe-Yaki recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
Hungry for more? Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest for more deliciousness!
Okonomi Kitchen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. When you purchase something through my amazon affiliate links, I earn a small commission that helps me produce consistent content at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my plant based kitchen!