Tofu in Indonesia

Tofu or The bean curd are made from soymilk that pressed and cooling it down. The excess water will be thrown away and we will use that solid block for cooking. Tofu is one of the Asian staple food for many dishes. Tofu can be fried, steam, mixed up for stir-fry, so many ways to enjoy the tofu.

Origin Of Tofu

Tofu originaly from China; its date of origin, however, is uncertain. The earliest document mention of the term “doufu” is the Ch’ing I Lu ( Seiiroku in Japanese), written by T’ao Ku (950 AD). There are at least four theories concerning the origin of tofu in China. There is many version how tofu formed at first. The Liu An Theory states that tofu was developed by Liu An, King of Huai-nan, who lived in the southeast part of north China from 179-122 BC. Another theory, The Accidental Coagulation Theory states that tofu was developed quite by accident, probably prior to AD 600, when someone, probably in northern China, seasoned a pureed soybean soup with unrefined sea salt containing natural nigari and noticed that curds formed.

Indonesia and Tofu

There is no valid evidence when tofu arrived in Indonesia. The first city that claimed tofu is Kediri in 1292. It is small city in Java. We called tofu as tahu. It comes from chinesse word: tao-hu. Tao means soy, hu means pieces that turns into porridge. So it means food from soy that crumbled into porridge.

Indonesian love tofu. As one of the staple side dish or lauk it equals with tempe. In the past, people with low income used to eat tofu to get the protein instead from chicken or meat since it is more affordable. Nowadays with vegetarian life style highly increased, tofu is one of the most protein source in the this diet.

Tofu Types

White tofu is typical tofu that you can found in traditional market in Indonesia. It is soft, white, watery, and plain. The seller always bring it in the big container with lot of water inside. When you get your tofu from the container and bring it to your house, the tofu will be bit drained and your pack getting full with water. To get longer and better tofu, just remove the water and put it on the fridge with air tight container. It can be good for a week.

The fried tofu aka tahu pong is also common to find in Indonesian market. This fried tofu is empty inside. Practically, it can be directly consumed but most of the time people use it for cooking. I like when it come to my lodeh because this kind of tofu will ‘trapped’ some of the water inside and it will blast in your mouth as surprises! So much fun when eating 🙂

As the first claimed city where the tofu comes from, Kediri is really famous with their Tahu Kediri. This is their city gastronomic souvenir as travel souvenir. Imagine China with their tea or Japan with Ramen but in smaller region like city. Their tofu is special because it is really firm, natural yellow colored with turmeric, and very dry to compare with white white tofu. Their signature packaging is a small weaving bamboo box. They say, it will be good up to 2 months if you keep it in refrigerator. Mine is always finish within a week, not sure if you want to keep up to two months. My favorite way to enjoy it just steam it for 5 minutes then dunk in sambal kecap. Best.

The other tofu is silky tofu or tahu sutra. It adopted from Japanese kinu tofu. It is super soft tofu that often to use in our chinese cooking like Cap cay. They have various type like shrimp tofu and egg tofu. What makes them different is their certain point of umami depends on their ingredients. I would like to cook this tofu when I want to try my own patience (because too soft and highly super sensitive) You can find this tofu mostly in supermarket in a tube form.

Other tofu is, milky tofu or tahu susu. The first time I tried milky tofu was around 2016 in a small funky warung. Tahu means tofu, susu means milk. Yes it is tofu but from cow milk, not for vegan people. It was quite new ‘variation’ at that moment and they didn’t want to share with me how they make it. Hmmm so secret. I remember the taste was so milky with slightly cow aroma. Back to 2018, my friend from Boyolali brought tahu susu from her farm. So fresh and it is super rare. Why it so? Because to make the real milky tofu, can only made from the first and second batch milk the new mama cows. The baby cows doesn’t like that batch milk because too thick. So people in her farm use that milk to make tofu with garlic, salt, and coriander as spices. I can say the taste is so different from the ones from small funky warung. My friend’s tofu is more intense, stronger aroma, milky and much much jiggly. Before you serve it, you can also fried it like white tofu.

Tofu Recipe

One of my favorite simple recipe with tofu is make a scrambled tofu. So easy peasy. Here’s the recipe!


  • 300gr tofu
  • 2 garlic
  • 2 tbsp corriander
  • salt
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg

How to make it

  1. Grind all the bumbu: garlic, corriander, and salt. You can make it really soft or like my family doesn’t like to make the corriander too soft because will be crunchy and can add extra texture after fried it. Fell free about the bumbu texture 🙂
  2. Soften all the tofu. The softer will be better since we will scoop it to fry it.
    Protip: If it fresh buy tofu from the market, I prefer drain them for a while to remove the excess water, otherwise my scrambled tofu will be too watery.
  3. Mix all the tofu with bumbu, leeks, and the egg. Make sure everything is well blended.
  4. Take a scoop of yout tofu ‘batter’ and fry it in the hot oil. Cook in lowest fire on your stove. Fry until golden brown.
  5. Ready to serve 🙂

To make it clear, I did the video too!

Love you tofu <3