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This Stinky Tofu Recipe Is Better Than It Sounds

Stinky tofu.
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / focusonpc

Don't judge this delicious dish by its name! Stinky tofu, a popular snack across East Asia, involves fermenting tofu for around 24 hours before frying. Give it a try.

Stinky tofu is a popular snack at night markets across Taiwan and southern China. It gets its name from the preparation process, which involves fermenting tofu for more than 24 hours in fermented bean curd and water. The longer the tofu ferments, the stinkier and tastier it is. It is then fried and coated in a flavorful oyster sauce. You can find fermented bean curd at most Asian food stores or order it online.

Stinky tofu is loved by many, so don’t be put off by its name. Yes, it has a strong smell, but that smell corresponds to its deep, unique flavor. If you love strong cheese, it’s actually somewhat similar. Enjoy this tasty snack dipped in soy or sweet chili sauce or served with rice and vegetables.

We’ll show you how to make stinky tofu the traditional way and how vegans can adapt the recipe easily.

How to Make Stinky Tofu

Ferment your tofu for at least 24 hours.
Ferment your tofu for at least 24 hours.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / focusonpc)

To make this stinky tofu recipe as quick and easy as possible, measure your ingredients out ahead of time. The vegan-friendly variation swaps oyster sauce with mushroom oyster sauce. Vegans should also make sure to check the ingredients listed on the bean curd, as some brands contain shrimp paste.

Yield: 3 servings


  • 4 tbsp. fermented bean curd
  • 1 tsp. rice cooking wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 14 oz. block firm tofu
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. oyster sauce (vegan swap: mushroom oyster sauce, available on Amazon**)
  • 1 tsp. fennel powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 2 green onions, finely diced


  1. Take a large container with a lid and add the fermented bean curd, rice cooking wine and one and a half cups of water and mix well. Cut the tofu into one-inch squares and add to the container. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours — stinky tofu tastes stronger the longer you leave it.
  2. Remove from the refrigerator and drain the water. Heat one teaspoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok and fry the tofu until golden brown, turning part way through to cook on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan if needed, and fry the garlic until fragrant. Add the oyster sauce, fennel powder, sugar and half a cup of water, and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the tofu and cook for a minute. Add the cornstarch and parsley, stirring continuously.
  5. Remove from the heat and top with diced green onions.

Enjoy your stinky tofu!

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