Hot Tofu (Yudofu) 湯豆腐

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Hot Tofu (Yudofu) |

Thanksgiving is coming up soon and it’s a happy time as families get together.  I’m also spending Thanksgiving with my husband’s family in Taiwan and it’s pretty warm here in Kaohsiung (高雄), Taiwan where I stay.  It’s  a bit difficult for me to imagine American Thanksgiving and the beauty of autumn at the moment with the A/C blasting all day in 78F (26C) weather.

Here is a light and healthy vegetarian tofu recipe that might come in handy for the next few days after the big Thanksgiving feast – it’s called Hot Tofu (Yudofu 湯豆腐).

Hot Tofu (Yudofu) |

This dish is unbelievably easy and the only ingredients you need are just dashi kombu and tofu.  I’ve seen dashi kombu in the Japanese isle of typical Asian markets so hopefully you are able to find it easily.  If you don’t have an Asian market nearby, you can order online as well.

Basically the idea is to make stock using dashi kombu, and then throw some tofu in.  Yes, that’s it!  Of course you are welcome to add any vegetables to add extra nutrition and color; however, today I kept it simple by adding Japanese herbs called Mitsuba to enjoy the simple flavor of tofu.  It would be the best if you can purchase fresh tofu or make your own tofu!

Hot Tofu (Yudofu) |

How do you eat it?  There are many sauces that go well with warm tofu.  You can use soy sauce, ponzu, sesame sauce, or sauce made with miso.  Today I made a special soy sauce-base sauce with bonito flakes (katsuobushi) to add more dashi flavor instead of just soy sauce (this sauce is not vegetarian).  I also sprinkle scallions and shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7 flavor chili pepper).

This can be an appetizer, side dish, or simply a meal on its own.  If you want to add meat, try Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki.  Enjoy!

Hot Tofu (Yudofu) |

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Hot Tofu (Yudofu)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1-2
  • 1 Momen Tofu (in the US it’s called “regular” tofu, which is between silken and firm)
  • Mitsuba or any green vegetable you like for color
  • About 2 inch Dashi Kombu
  • 1 Tbsp. sake
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Sauce (optional)
  1. Gently clean the dashi kombu with a damp cloth (DO NOT WASH) but leave the white powdery substances which contribute to the umami flavor in the stock.
  2. In donabe (Japanese clay pot), put dashi kombu and pour water till 70% full. Let the kombu soak for 1-2 hours. Or you can soak the kombu while cooking on the lowest heat for 15 minutes if you are in a hurry.
  3. Meanwhile, make sauce. Put sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan.
  4. When boiling, add bonito flakes (katsuobushi).
  5. Mix well with chopsticks and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Pour the sauce into a small serving dish. You don’t have to strain; it’s okay if some bonito flakes go into the sauce.
  7. These leftover bonito flakes have nice flavor and you can use it as filling for Okaka Onigiri.
  8. When the kombu dashi stock is ready (after 1-2 hours), bring the stock to a boil on medium high heat. Once boiling, add sake and salt.
  9. When boiling again, cut the tofu to any size you like (a whole tofu, halves, 6 pieces, etc) and put it in the kombu dashi stock.
  10. When tofu is heated through, add mitsuba. If you plan to use other vegetables, make sure are they cooked thoroughly.
  11. Serve with the sauce and toppings of your choice while the tofu is hot.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.

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  1. Gorgeous recipe Nami – as always! I’ve not heard the term “hot tofu” before but I love all the elements here and especially the simplicity ;-). It’s always nice to have nutritious recipes like this on hand when times are rushed or when recovering from overeating :). I hope you are having a wonderful visit in Taiwan – the AC would definitely bring a new element… Happy Thanksgiving from Canada! xo.

  2. Such a light and totally conforting soup with tofu. I’ve been craving for a lot of soupy food lately, mostly clear and light ones, and this is perfect. Wll try the soy based sauce too. Thanks and safe trwvel in Taiwan, happy holidays :)

  3. Beautiful, Nami! What a lovely, simple dish and it sounds so appealing. You’re right, this will be perfect for the post-Thanksgiving weekend. I just got some kombu so this is going on my list. Happy Thanksgiving to you and enjoy your time in Taiwan!

  4. Linda | The Urban Mrs

    A simple and yet elegant dish – I love this, especially during Summer. Very refreshing. Hope you have a fun Thanksgiving and family gathering in Taiwan and don’t forget the xiao long bao! :)

  5. Such a beautiful dish and so easy to prepare for a light family meal. As always your presentations make it special and unique. I love the way the blanched mitsuba leaf was wrapped around the cube of tofu.

    That’s something I have to work on in my own posts. I usually just snap pictures of the finished dish having neglected to purchase any appropriate garnishes. My green onion is risned, dried and sliced into rings and then frozen away in a small container to be added to soup etc. Of course. thawed frozen green onion seems limp and lifeless when added as garnish to a donburi. :( What to do?

    • I purposely buy some fresh greens/herbs just for photo shoot. It adds nice accent and I think it’s inevitable part of food photography. You can keep just a few in a glass of water, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge – it will last longer. :)

  6. you’re amazing! the plain tofu looks so beautiful and appetizing in your hands! tofu’s not exactly my favorite food, but i wouldn’t mind this at all ^^

  7. Dear Nami,

    When I was younger I never liked tofu but when I started learning how to cook, I think tofu is one of the best and most flexible ingredients to cook with, let alone so delicious. One of my all-time favourite Taiwanese dish is dark stir-fried minced pork that is ladled over steamed rice and topped with a wobbly fried egg :) I am sure Shen knows about this dish. One of my fave comfort foods at home.

  8. Oh what a beautiful dish, Nami. I’m so glad you’ve shared this recipe because I love to eat light around the holidays. And sometimes I get tired of the heavier fall fare. This is perfect! And Nami…I am just in awe of your photography! : )

  9. Nami this is gorgeous. Such a cool dish. That last photo is amazing.

    We may celebrate with the Americans since I missed the Canadian one due to being sick. But it’s wicked cold here so seems appropriate. I can’t believe it’s so warm there. I love the warmth. I keep questioning that I was born in the wrong place. Too cold in winter here.

  10. Eha

    Late as ever these past few days, just opened my fridge door to see a packet of organic firm tofu and wonder what to do with it! Thank you, Namiko-san: all fixed now!! We have plenty of tofu available even in the country here in Oz, but the choice always seems to be twixt ‘firm’ and ‘silky’. Tho’ beautiful organic seems always available now . . . Keep on having a wonderful time: Thanksgiving almost over for you by the time you read this!! I suppose you are not returning immediately to have two of the Holiday :) !

  11. Serena

    Another delicious recipe to try as soon as possible. Could be tomorrow… I’m getting addicted to your Just One Cookbook. Such a delicious habit.
    Thanks Nami! Have a lovely trip

  12. What a great idea for a light meal during this overeating, overabundant holiday! I don’t think of tofu as a major component of a meal or in this case, the meal. Usually, I see it stirred with veggies and noodles. I love the warmed tofu with a simple and highly tasty sauce. Thanks for thinking of our dietary needs Ms. Nami!!! :) When I pick up my turkey tomorrow, I’ll be picking up some tofu! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your in-laws in Taiwan!

  13. Mich - Piece of Cake

    I saw the tofu heading and I rushed over here to check it out. Love how simple it is to make, and very healthy. Now I shall go and look around the Japanese aisles of the supermarket to find the ingredients.

  14. Great dish. I’m not going to make my own tofu, but fortunately I live about 2 miles from a store where I can buy freshly made. Definitely will have to try this – such a simple and refreshing recipe. Thanks so much.

  15. I would love to taste your prepared tofu. I suck at working with tofu, but you my friend, you look like you know what you are doing. 😉
    Hope you are having a blast in Taiwan! Happy Holiday to you and to yours. xoxo

  16. I really want to know what it tastes like your hot tofu. The way you made it is quite intriguing and I am surprised to see sake in the list of ingredients. You know I haven’t eaten much Japanese unfortunately in my life, my ignorance is great. I ll keep an eye out for all the ingredient, except the tofu which is very common here. I ll let you know whenever I get to make it! 😉

  17. I love such light, elegant but simple Japanese recipes! All the photos are beautiful as always but the one on left where you pour soy sauce over the tofu covered with mitsuba is extraordinary! Accidentally I have had tofu today for lunch (the hard tofu though, which I find easier and more versatile to use in my regular stir-fried dishes).
    I hope you are having fun in Taiwan!
    Luckily there is no Thanksgiving here… I am already scared of the amounts of food I will have for Christmas though 😉

  18. Nami, I`m simply in LOVE with the photos! They`re wonderful.

    I`m a huge fan of tofu. This dish looks wonderful!

    Hope you`re having fun in Taiwan~ Happy Thanksgiving!!

  19. Anders

    Looks delicious; though I have to point out that it’s not actually vegetarian. Bonito flakes are dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna, and fish isn’t vegetarian. If you need a term for it what you’re looking for is pescetarian, which is vegetarian but includes seafood in the diet.

    • Hi Anders! Thank you for pointing that out. I meant the main dish Hot Tofu (yudofu) is vegetarian, and choices of sauces and toppings are up to you. There are many condiments available for this dish (miso, ponzu, soy sauce, like I mentioned in the post). I updated with “(optional)” in the recipe to avoid confusing. Thank you so much for letting me know! :)

  20. I love yudofu; thanks for this recipe, Nami! (Any tips for what to use instead of a donabe?)

    Hope you’re enjoying your time in Taiwan! There are soooo many good things to eat there, especially in Taipei… I’m sure you’re taking lots of food photos! :)

    • Hi Allison! You can use a regular pot or cast iron pot like Le Creuset to keep it warm longer. I’m gong back to the US tonight and yes enjoyed lots of food! :)

    • Hi Allison! You can use a regular pot or cast iron pot like Le Creuset to keep it warm longer. I’m gong back to the US tonight and yes enjoyed lots of food! :)

  21. Happy belated Thanksgiving to you and your family Nami! I hope you’re having a wonderful time!

    Even if I’m not the world’s biggest fan of tofu I certainly think this looks stunning. I don’t dislike it – I just always found it a bit nondescript, but this preparation looks like it would give some excellent flavours to the tofu!

  22. Beautiful presentation Nami! Miss A would really enjoy this. She’s my tofu fan. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!! It’s funny – we’ve had two warm weather Thanksgivings and it always seems so odd to me. It was fairly warm here too though this year. Not today though. 😉

  23. I love this recipe, Nami! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been thinking of making something like this since I am cutting down on red meat (to lose baby weight – hehe). Your table presentation is so elegant and refined. It is very Japanese, so it is absolutely beautiful! I feel transported to Japan everytime I come here. Makes me happy!

  24. Nami, hope you and your family are having a wonderful time in Taiwan! This recipe for Hot Tofu looks simply delightful and you presented in in such an inviting and elegant way, again! What could be a better way to start off my week on a rainy Monday morning than visiting your lovely blog!

  25. you know my hubby won’t eat tofu! I think the problem is he hasn;t had your tofu! LOL! Seriously, though maybe if i make this just like your recipe he will start to love it. You have an amazing way of creating the most spectacular dishes and presentations! Hope yo had a wonderful thanksgiving!

  26. Caroline Foo

    Hi Nami

    Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for another lovely recipe. Is kombu and dashi kombu the same in taste?



    • Thank you Caroline!

      Kombu is a For making dashi stock, you need to buy a product called “dashi Kombu”. There are many kombu products, but dried one is “dashi kombu”. Hope this helps. :)

  27. I work for an European company and I often get questions like “what does tofu taste like”. To me, tofu is one of the best ingredients out there but I just can’t get some of my colleagues to try it! Perhaps I should let my coworkers read this post because the dish looks absolutely amazing! Happy belated Thanksgiving!

  28. Hi, Nami! I do really enjoy learning how to handle and cooking correctly unfamiliar ingredients for me e.g. how to clean properly and soak Kombu. Actually, cleaning kombu reminds me on how to clean properly mushrooms although for different reasons. Mushrooms if washed will be mushy b/c they absorb water like sponges while kombu will lose its umami flavor. Thanks for the tips again! I hope you have had a great time with your in-laws in Taiwan. Tchau!!! :)
    P.S: What does itadakimasu mean? Is a Japanese or Taiwanese expression?

    • Hi Denise,

      Thank you for your comment. :)

      Meals in Japan traditionally begin with the phrase itadakimasu (literally, “I humbly receive”). It’s like saying grace before a meal.

  29. Nami, I hope you enjoyed your time in Taiwan. From your instagram photos it looks like you had a wonderful time with very delicious food! This recipe is suck a perfect light meal. So simple and elegant.

  30. 湯豆腐と言えば、京都。今友人が京都に旅行中。かなり羨ましく思ってます。なみちゃん、すごーい!本格的なつゆ汁。ここまでは私もしないのに、料理上手はやっぱり違うなあ。感謝祭は楽しかったかい?

  31. Hi Nami!
    Honestly I have never seen tofu that looks this good! I can’t remember the last time I used tofu in a recipe ;-(. I think you’ve shown in your post how to savor tofu in a flavorful broth with veggies, herbs or a sauce …and it looks just fantastic!

  32. Nami san, 湯豆腐を見ると心がとっても温まります。豆腐を有り難く頂けるというのは、やはり日本人だからですね。本当に美味しそう!もうすぐ久々に帰国するので、思う存分食べてこようっと (笑)。写真とっても素敵ですよ!

    • Hi Kristi! I’m so happy to hear you and your three year old daughter enjoyed this! It’s one of my son’s all time favorite dishes too. :) Thank you for your feedback!