Posted in Home Cooking, The Flavors of Asia, The Joy of Snacks, The Well-read Foodie

In Which There is a Spin on Deep-fried Tofu…

Tofu Wanzi
Tofu Wanzi

I was flipping through issue 144 of Saveur Magazine, the 2011-2012 Saveur 100 best things in the culinary world and saw a rather intriguing recipe for tofu wanzi.

According to article author Mei Chin, these fat, deep-fried hybrids between dumplings and fritters were created by her grandmother who moved to the United States from Mainland China.  They are crisp on the outside, soft and custardy within, speckled pink and green throughout their interiors because of the addition of bacon and spring onions – a true fusion of Chinese cuisine and the cuisine of the American South.

The first time I made these, they ended up somewhat tasteless and rather wonky.  A few tweaks on my part, and they became moreish and delicious: smoky, soft, with a slight freshness from the spring onions.  These are excellent as a savory accompaniment to afternoon tea or with cocktails to start off a dinner with friends.

Tofu Wanzi

  • 1 tube silken tofu
  • 1 square firm tofu
  • 250 grams bacon
  • ⅔ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 5 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Oil for deep-frying

Mash together the two kinds of tofu; set aside.  Fry up the bacon in a non-stick pan till crisp.  Remove the bacon from pan, reserving the drippings, and chop finely.  Add to the tofu along with 1/4 cup of the bacon drippings, the panko, flour, spring onions, and eggs.  Season with the salt and pepper

Pour oil to a depth of two inches in a deep saucepan and heat till bubbling. Portion 2 tablespoons of the tofu mixture and shape into a miniature football shape using two spoons; repeat with remaining tofu mixture. Fry until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately; these are best served with Chinese xinkiang vinegar or even a good dribble of balsamic.

Makes approximately 24 dumplings.



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

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