What is Fish Tofu: An In-Depth Guide to this Seafood Delight

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Fish tofu, also known as fish cake, is a popular ingredient in many Asian cuisines. Despite its name, fish tofu is actually made from a paste of fish meat and other ingredients, and has a unique texture and flavor that make it a versatile addition to many dishes. In this article, we’ll explore the origins and uses of fish tofu, as well as its nutritional benefits and delicious recipes.

what is fish tofu

What is Fish Tofu?

Fish tofu is a popular Asian dish known for its tofu-like texture and appearance. Although the name may be deceiving, fish tofu is not actually a type of tofu. Instead, it is a starchy steamed fish dish that has become increasingly popular outside of Asia as well.

History and Origin

Fish tofu has its roots in the vibrant and diverse culinary traditions of China. With the abundant seafood available, Chinese chefs crafted delicious and innovative dishes like fish tofu. This versatile dish has since made its way to other parts of Asia, where it has been embraced and enjoyed by many.

Ingredients and Preparation

Fish tofu is typically made from combining ground fish with other ingredients like soy milk, creating a mixture that is coagulated and pressed into blocks, similar to tofu production. The result is a high-protein, low-calorie food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and provides numerous health benefits.

To make fish tofu, a fish fillet is often ground and blended into a paste. This paste is then mixed with starchy ingredients or soy milk, forming a unique mixture that is cooked to create the desired texture. There are several variations to this dish, with some preparations involving fish cake, where the fish paste is coated with crushed fish flakes(emozzy.com).

When it comes to cooking fish tofu, there are various methods and recipes to choose from. One popular dish is fish fragrant tofu (Yu Xiang Tofu), where tofu is stir-fried with a Szechuan style hot sweet and sour sauce(chinasichuanfood.com). Another option is fish tofu soup, which combines fish tofu with ingredients like ginger, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and Napa cabbage in a flavorful broth(thewoksoflife.com).

The versatility of fish tofu allows it to be incorporated into various dishes, making it an excellent option for those looking to broaden their culinary horizons. Its popularity in Asian cuisine provides a delicious and nutritious alternative to traditional tofu and continues to grow around the world.

Nutritional Benefits

Fish tofu, also known as fish cake or fish paste, is a popular food item made from fish paste, egg whites, and a variety of seasonings. This tasty and versatile ingredient boasts significant nutritional benefits, including being a rich source of protein, iron, and calcium.


Fish tofu provides a substantial amount of protein, which plays an essential role in building and repairing tissues in the body. Protein is also crucial for healthy skin, hair, nails, and muscles. As fish tofu is an animal-based product, it contains all nine essential amino acids required by humans for proper growth and maintenance of the body. This makes fish tofu a complete protein source, making it an excellent option for those seeking to increase their protein intake.


Iron is another vital nutrient found in fish tofu. Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells that transports oxygen throughout the body. Adequate iron consumption ensures that the body maintains proper energy levels and efficiently transports oxygen, allowing you to feel energized and focused. Including fish tofu in your diet can help ensure you receive sufficient iron intake to support these vital functions.


Fish tofu is also a valuable source of calcium, an essential mineral your body needs for strong bones and teeth. Calcium plays a critical role in several bodily processes, including blood clotting, nerve transmission, and muscle function. Incorporating fish tofu into your meals can help you meet your daily calcium requirements and maintain good bone health.

Apart from these substantial nutritional benefits, fish tofu has some additional advantages. It is low in fat and high in protein, making it an excellent choice for those pursuing a healthy diet. Furthermore, fish tofu is incredibly versatile and can be included in various recipes, from soups and stir-fries to salads and sandwiches. Overall, fish tofu is a delicious, nutritious, and versatile ingredient worth incorporating into your diet to reap its myriad health benefits.

Homemade Fish Tofu Recipe

Fish tofu is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or as an ingredient in various recipes. It is typically made from a combination of fish paste and firm tofu, resulting in a unique texture and taste. This section aims to provide you with a simple homemade fish tofu recipe, along with some sauce recipes to elevate the dish’s flavor.

Basic Ingredients

To make your homemade fish tofu, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 500g white fish fillet
  • 500g firm tofu
  • 100g cornstarch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml water
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp milk

Cooking Technique

  1. Start by preparing the fish and tofu. Cut the white fish fillets into small pieces and finely chop the firm tofu.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the fish, tofu, cornstarch, salt, water, milk, and light soy sauce.
  3. Mix well until you achieve a smooth batter-like consistency.
  4. Fill a steamer with water and bring it to a boil.
  5. Prepare a heatproof dish by lightly greasing it with vegetable oil, then pour the fish tofu batter into the dish.
  6. Steam the fish tofu mixture in the steamer for 15-20 minutes, or until it is firm to touch.
  7. Once cooked, remove the fish tofu from the steamer and let it cool for a few minutes.

Sauce Recipes

To further enhance your homemade fish tofu, you can try these two different sauce recipes:

  • Garlic Soy Sauce:
    • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp vinegar
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil

    Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, then drizzle over the fish tofu before serving.

  • Ginger Scallion Sauce:
    • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tbsp grated ginger
    • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil

    Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Pour the sauce over the fish tofu to serve.

With this homemade fish tofu recipe and accompanying sauce options, you can enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal that is easy to prepare and bursting with flavor.

What is Fish Tofu?

Fish tofu is a versatile and delicious snack made from fish paste that is combined with other ingredients like starch, soy protein, and seasoning. This mixture is then shaped into small, bite-sized pieces and cooked in various ways to create a delightful treat. With a delicate flavor, fish tofu is widely known and enjoyed across Asia, particularly in China, Taiwan, and Japan.

Cooking Methods


Steaming fish tofu is a healthy and easy cooking method. Place the fish tofu pieces on a steaming rack or plate inside a steamer, making sure they are not touching one another. Steam the fish tofu over boiling water for about 5-7 minutes, or until it is cooked through. You can also add extra flavors by including some sliced ginger, garlic, or your preferred seasoning to the steaming water. Steamed fish tofu can be served as is or as a component in various dishes like soups or stir-fries.


Frying fish tofu is one of the most popular methods of preparation. Start by slicing the fish tofu into small pieces, usually around 3 x 3 cm in size. Heat some oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the tofu pieces until they are golden brown on all sides. This should take around 2-3 minutes per side. Add a splash of fish sauce to the pan near the end of the cooking process for extra flavor. Serve the fried fish tofu hot, garnished with spring onion and chili pepper for a tasty snack or appetizer. You can also use an air fryer to achieve similar results with less oil.


Boiling fish tofu is another simple cooking method. Bring a pot of water or broth to a boil, then gently add the fish tofu pieces, taking care not to overcrowd the pot. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the fish tofu for about 5-7 minutes or until it reaches the desired tenderness. Boiled fish tofu can be eaten on its own or incorporated into soups and noodle dishes.

Some additional tips for preparing fish tofu include:

  • Marinating: Enhance the flavor by marinating the fish tofu pieces in your choice of sauce or seasoning before cooking. A combination of soy sauce, minced garlic, and ginger works well.
  • Baking: Arrange the marinated fish tofu pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  • Mixing with other ingredients: Fish tofu can be combined with vegetables or protein sources like chicken, shrimp, or other types of seafood.

Experiment with these methods and flavors to create delicious fish tofu dishes that cater to your own taste preferences.