Asian Recipes/ Dinner/ Entrees / Appetisers/ Japanese/ Recipes

Japanese Fried Tofu Patties – Ganmodoki

07/04/2022 (Last Updated: 08/04/2022)

Crispy fried, golden brown and delicious, Ganmodoki are a great make-ahead entree or satisfying main. These Japanese tofu patties are naturally vegan and vegetarian friendly, serve them with your favourite dipping sauces for a quick, easy and nutritious meal!

Tofu patties on a bed of spinach with soy ginger dipping sauce.

Why We Love This

Like most Japanese foods, ganmodoki are deliciously filling without making you feel heavy or bloated after. 

They’re super easy to make and adaptable to suit your tastes or whatever veggies you have on hand. Use our base recipe as is, or amp them up with our variation ideas below for extra flavour or crunch.

Fried tofu patties served with chopsticks.

What is Ganmodoki? 

Ganmodoki (がんもどき, also sometimes known as hiryōzu) are a type of Japanese tofu patty made from firm tofu, vegetables and Japanese seasonings. 

With a texture like a cross between a fritter and a dumpling, they’re usually deep fried but can also be simmered in broth, or added to nabemono hot pots like oden. 

Interesting Fact: The name ganmodoki actually translates as pseudo-goose (gan (goose) + modoki (goose)), as the cooked fritters are said to taste like goose. Having never tried anything made with goose before, we can’t be sure!

What You’ll Need

  • Firm Tofu – Traditionally this dish is made with cotton tofu, named for the fluffy texture of the curds. It’s sometimes labelled as firm tofu, extra firm tofu or firm block tofu. See this guide to shopping for tofu if you’re unsure.
  • Potato Starch – Sub with cornstarch. The starch helps to bind the patties and give them their extra crispy outsides once fried.
  • Egg – (Optional – omit for vegan version) This helps bind the ingredients together.
  • Sugar – Any sugar you have on hand will do. Sub with mirin if you like, or leave it out.
  • Soy Sauce – Regular soy sauce or tamari is fine. 
  • Vegetables – We use grated carrot, sliced spring onion and finely chopped mushroom (such as enoki, shiitake, oyster or regular button mushrooms). You can also make them with grated burdock, lotus root, edamame beans or shiso leaves if you have them on hand.
  • Vegetable Oil – Choose one with a neutral flavour and high smoke point for frying, such as canola oil.
Ingredients laid out to make Japanese tofu patties.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Texture – We use a food processor to break up the curds until they’re ultra fine, giving the tofu fritters a super smooth texture. If you don’t have a food processor, you can break the tofu up into small pieces, then pass them through an ultra fine mesh strainer to get the same result (with a little extra effort). Some people have also found a potato masher or stick blender can work as well.
  • Shaping – If the mixture is sticking to your hands, rub your clean hands with a little oil and try again. This should help you shape the mixture more easily.
  • Frying – Ganmodoki are usually deep fried, however we prefer to shallow fry to use less oil. Make sure to bring the oil up to temperature first, so the fritters cook in the oil rather than soak it all up. 
  • Storage – Cooked fritters will last a day or two in the fridge. You can reheat them in short bursts in the microwave, or re-fry them in just a little oil to get them extra crispy. Otherwise, serve cold in a bento for lunch or heat them up in mentsuyu broth.
  • Make Ahead – These fritters are make-ahead friendly, so feel free to make the uncooked patties a day in advance. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
Stack of ganmodoki in a small white bowl with chopsticks.

FAQs

How else can I cook ganmodoki?

You can fry them, simmer them in mentsuyu or dashi broth, or add them into a batch of oden hot pot. Serve them up as vegan “chicken” nuggets or tofu burger patties, or use them in place of the chicken mince mixture in tsukune meatball skewers.

What should I serve with ganmodoki?

You can serve them as an entree or main on their own, or in a bowl with your chosen broth. They pair deliciously with creamy sesame dressing, ponzu or dumpling dipping sauce. Serve leftover cold ganmodoki in a bento box for lunch alongside a portion of sushi rice, kinpira gobo, daikon pickles and kimchi.

Can I freeze them?

No, we don’t recommend freezing ganmodoki as tofu does not freeze well.

Variations

  • Patty Size –  Shake things up and make bite-sized ganmodoki instead for an entree or appetiser at your next party. Or go the other direction and make them into tofu burger patties to replace the beef in our Japanese hamburgers!
  • Extra Umami – Add a tbsp of hijiki seaweed (dried, or soaked and drained) or 1 tsp of dashi powder to the tofu mixture. You can also cook them with a splash of toasted sesame oil added to the vegetable oil.
  • Add Heat – Mix shichimi togarashi into your fritter mixture. Or, add a few drops of rayu chilli oil in with the vegetable oil as you cook.
  • Add Glaze – Baste them with teriyaki sauce and cook them tsukune style!
  • Make it a Bowl – Swap out the teriyaki tofu, and add these tofu fritters to your next sushi bowl!
  • Add Crunch – Crumb the fritters with panko or sesame seeds for an extra crunchy crust. 
  • Dipping Sauce – Add a little extra bite to your soy dipping sauce! Add grated daikon instead of (or as well as) the ginger!
  • Toppings – Layer them with kewpie mayo and okonomoyaki sauce, then sprinkle with seaweed flakes and katsuobushi – just like okonomiyaki or takoyaki!
Dipping half a tofu patty into a small soy and ginger dipping sauce.

More flavourful Japanese dinner recipes to try next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Japanese tofu patties in a white bowl with dipping sauce.

Japanese Fried Tofu Patties – Ganmodoki

Crispy fried, golden brown and delicious, Ganmodoki are a great make-ahead entree or satisfying main. These Japanese tofu patties are naturally vegan and vegetarian friendly, serve them with your favourite dipping sauces for a quick, easy and nutritious meal!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Draining Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Appetiser, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Servings: 15 patties
Calories: 43kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Ingredients

  • 450 g firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp potato starch sub cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp sugar sub mirin
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce sub tamari
  • ½ carrot grated
  • 1-2 spring onion / green onion sliced thinly, sub with 1 tbsp dried hijiki seaweed
  • ¼ cup mushroom chopped small, white button, enoki, shiitake or oyster mushrooms work well
  • vegetable oil for frying, sub with mentsuyu broth if simmering instead

Other optional fillings:

  • 1 egg omit for vegan version
  • ¼ cup burdock root grated or sliced sasagaki style
  • 2-3 shiso leaves sliced thinly, sub with spinach
  • ¼ cup edamame beans

Dipping sauce, to serve:

Instructions

  • Place the firm tofu block on a large plate lined with a paper towel. Place another paper towel over the top, then another large plate. Place something heavy onto the plate (around 2-3kg) to squeeze out the excess water from the tofu for 30 minutes.
    450 g firm tofu
  • Meanwhile make the dipping sauce to allow the flavours to infuse. Pour the soy sauce into a small dish, add in the freshly grated ginger and give it a quick stir.
    ½ tsp fresh ginger, ¼ cup soy sauce
  • Drain any extra liquid from the tofu and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  • Break the tofu up with your hands into coarse lumps. Pulse in a food processor for 10-20 seconds to break it down into a finer texture. Note: Before processing, you’ll notice the tofu clumps don’t stick together, but after processing when you press down with a spoon it should hold, making it easier for you to shape into patties.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the processed tofu, potato starch, sugar, soy sauce, carrot, spring onion and mushroom (plus any other optional fillings like egg, burdock root, shiso leaves or edamame). Mix until well combined.
    3 tbsp potato starch, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, ½ carrot, 1-2 spring onion / green onion, ¼ cup mushroom, ¼ cup burdock root, 2-3 shiso leaves, ¼ cup edamame beans, 1 egg
  • Now it’s time to shape those tofu patties! We find a large, heaped spoonful of mixture is a good amount to make a patty just smaller than the size of your palm. Flatten out into a small disc, neaten up the edges and place them on a plate ready to cook.
  • In a deep pot or frying pan, add a thin layer of vegetable oil until the bottom is covered and crank it to a high heat. Note: We like to shallow fry this way, alternatively you can deep fry them OR baste them with oil and pop them in your air fryer!
    vegetable oil
  • Once the oil is hot, gently place in your ganmodoki. Don’t overcrowd the pan, and cook in batches if necessary to keep your oil nice and hot! Cook for a few minutes per side until crispy and golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain on a plate lined with paper towel to soak out any extra oil.
  • Serve immediately with your soy and ginger dipping sauce, and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

  • Texture – We use a food processor to break up the curds until they’re ultra fine, giving the tofu fritters a super smooth texture. If you don’t have a food processor, you can break the tofu up into small pieces, then pass them through an ultra fine mesh strainer to get the same result (with a little extra effort). Some people have also found a potato masher or stick blender can work as well.
  • Shaping – If the mixture is sticking to your hands, rub your clean hands with a little oil and try again. This should help you shape the mixture more easily.
  • Frying – Ganmodoki are usually deep fried, however we prefer to shallow fry to use less oil. Make sure to bring the oil up to temperature first, so the fritters cook in the oil rather than soak it all up. 
  • Storage – Cooked fritters will last a day or two in the fridge. You can reheat them in short bursts in the microwave, or re-fry them in just a little oil to get them extra crispy. Otherwise, serve cold in a bento for lunch or heat them up in mentsuyu broth.
  • Make Ahead – These fritters are make-ahead friendly, so feel free to make the uncooked patties a day in advance and store them in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.
  • Patty Size –  Shake things up and make bite-sized ganmodoki instead for an entree or appetiser at your next party. Or go the other direction and make them into tofu burger patties to replace the beef in our Japanese hamburgers!
  • Extra Umami – Add a tbsp of hijiki seaweed (dried, or soaked and drained) or 1 tsp of dashi powder to the tofu mixture. You can also cook them with a splash of toasted sesame oil added to the vegetable oil.
  • Add Heat – Mix shichimi togarashi into your fritter mixture, or add a few drops of rayu chilli oil in with the vegetable oil as you cook.
  • Add Crunch – Crumb the fritters with panko or sesame seeds for an extra crunchy crust. 
  • Add Glaze – Baste them with teriyaki sauce and cook them tsukune style!
  • Make it a Bowl – Swap out the teriyaki tofu, and add these tofu fritters to your next sushi bowl!
  • Dipping Sauce – Add a little extra bite to your soy dipping sauce by adding finely grated daikon instead of (or as well as) the ginger!
  • Toppings – Layer them with kewpie mayo and okonomoyaki sauce, then sprinkle with seaweed flakes and katsuobushi – just like okonomiyaki or takoyaki!

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Japanese Fried Tofu Patties – Ganmodoki
Amount per Serving
Calories
43
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
2
g
3
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Cholesterol
 
11
mg
4
%
Sodium
 
291
mg
13
%
Potassium
 
45
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
3
g
1
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
4
g
8
%
Vitamin A
 
364
IU
7
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
42
mg
4
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Japanese Fried Tofu Patties - Ganmodoki

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