和文はこの後に続きます。Japanese translation will be toward the end of this page.
An image of the ingredients of fried bean curd

Photo 1 It requires soy beans, magnesium chloride (nigari), and vegetable oil to make abura-age. Calcium chloride here is a common substitute for nigari, and glycerin fatty acid ester is often added as an anti-foaming agent. Some prefer tofu and abura-age  without anti-foaming agent since it is more natural. 油揚げを作るには、大豆と塩化マグネシウム(にがり)、植物油を使う。塩化カルシウムは、にがりの代わりによく使われる。グリセリン脂肪酸エステルは消泡剤。消泡剤を使っていない方が自然で良いという人も

How to Prepare Fried Bean Curd

  1. When you buy a lot of fried bean curd
  2. Act quickly
  3. Removal of excess oil from fried bean curd
  4. A quick way to remove oil from fried bean curd
  5. Traditional oil removal
  6. More thorough oil removal
  7. How to eat fried bean curd
  8. Dividing and freezing of fried bean curd
  9. Wrapping for freezing (1) 
  10. Wrapping for freezing (2) 
  11. Thawing


1. When you buy a lot of fried bean curd

The other day, we had an opportunity to go to a Japanese grocery store in our area. Since it’s 30 minutes’ drive from home, I bought four packages of fried bean curd containing a total of twenty pieces.

Abura-age, or fried bean curd, will last for three months if frozen. My intention was to use them little by little; in miso soup, in ”o-Inari-san” or inari-zushi” (fried bean curd stuffed with vinegared rice in a football shape) and in other dishes.

2. Act quickly

In the package, fried bean curd looks fluffy (Photo 2). It’s because it contains a lot of air. However, it also means they quickly get oxidized and go stale in a week if they are refrigerated. (If you open the bag and sense a strange smell which is not the smell of the frying oil, it is bad.) 

Therefore, we should decide quickly whether to cook or freeze it right after purchase.

If you freeze, open the packages and transfer the contents into plastic freezing bags or an airtight container of glass or sturdy plastic.  

The reason is that the original packages are not made for freezing. If you freeze in them, they will quickly absorb odor in the freezer and begin to smell of oxidized oil.

3. Removal of excess oil from fried bean curd

If we have time, before we put fried bean curd in the freezer, or cook it, we often employ a process called “abura-nuki” or excess oil removal. 

Generally it’s considered better to do it.

The reasons are, for one, it will reduce the taste of greasiness and improve the greasy look. More importantly, after the oil is removed, fried bean curd will then better absorb the good flavor of the broth and the things they are cooked with.

Also, a piece of fried bean curd (of about 19 grams or 0.6 oz) has about 69 calories but according to some, that reduces by 10-30% after oil removal.

4. A quick way to remove oil from fried bean curd

Here is the fastest way of oil removal: Wrap fried bean curd in a piece of paper towel and cook in the microwave oven for 30 seconds. Wipe off the oily liquid which oozed out. Let cool and cook or freeze.

5. Traditional oil removal

Another equally easy way: Place fried bean curd in a colander and pour boiling water all over it, preferably on both sides. Then wipe the oily water off on the surface. Let cool and cook or freeze.

6. More thorough oil removal

We would like to remove more oil. Although it take a tad more time, we think it’s also a common practice among many families in Japan. 

Bring a potful of water to a boil. Put fried bean curd pieces in it, push them down into water and shake a little so that they release oil into the water. Boil this way for five to ten minutes (Photo 2). Drain in a colander, and let cool and cook or freeze. 

An image of boiled fried bean curd

Photo 2 The abura-age contains a lot of air so they float. They keep trying to pop out from the pot. 油揚げは空気をたくさん含んでいるので、浮く。鍋から飛び出そうとする

7. How to eat fried bean curd

You can eat the fried bean curd after the oil removal.

For example, cut or tear them into bite-size pieces and put them in your miso soup, and in broth on your udon or soba. You can put them in salad as a source of protein. 

If you roast it in a fry pan, or toast in a toaster, it becomes a little crunchy like oily toast. You can garnish your salad with it, or you can have it with a bit of a dab of soy sauce or miso and minced scallion as an accompaniment for your sake (rice wine). 

To make o-inari-san (inari-zushi) and kitsune udon, please see => How to Make O-Inari-san

If you don’t have the time, you can freeze it as follows:

8. Dividing and freezing of fried bean curd

After the oil removal, when they are cool enough to handle, roll them up one by one with one hand and wring the oily water out by squeezing them (Photo 3). The fried bean curd is still very oily after oil removal, so be careful if you use both hands to work with them. Or everything you touch while you do this will be greasy.

An image of wringing water from fried bean curd

Photo 3 Sometimes the oily water spouts toward yourself. Cover yourself with an apron or something and have good control on where you want to spout out. 油っぽい水が自分にかかったりするので、エプロンをして、水を絞り出す方向をよく定めて

While we want to remove as much oil as possible, be careful not to squeeze too hard and tear them if you are planning to use as pouches.

Then cut the abura-age into your preferred sizes. 

An image of fried bean curd cut in halves to make “o-inari-san” with

Photo 4 These are pouches, open on the cut ends. これが袋になっているもの。切ったところで口が開いている

This time, we cut ten of them in half (for inari-zushi and kitsune-udon) (Photo 4), we cut five of them in thin strips (for miso soup, or for cooking with hijiki seaweed and vegetables, etc.) (Photo 5) and the rest we cut into short, thin strips (for salads and cooking with rice) (Photo 6). Each was put in a dated freezer bag (Photo 7).

an image of longer strips

Photo 5 A small amount of abura-age in miso soup is a nice change in the texture. おみおつけに油揚げが入っていると、歯ごたえに変化がつく

An image of small strips
Photo 6 The small ones are good when mixed in rice with other ingredients. 小さいのは、他のものと一緒にご飯にまざっているとおいしい
An image of a freezing bag
Photo 7 Fold over the top part of the freezer bag, so that the fastener won’t get oily. 入れる前に袋の口を外へ折り返しておくと、閉じる部分が油っぽくならない

Shake it so that the contents spread evenly and thinly in the bag. This way they will freeze quickly, and later you will be able to break off just as much or as many pieces as you need. And they will thaw faster, too. 

Close the bag as you squeeze out the air (Photo 8). More frost will form on the food if there is a lot of air in the bag.

9. Wrapping for freezing (1) 

This freezing technique is what you often find in the Japanese media.

Before you put food in the bag, in addition, it is profusely recommended that you divide the food into the amount you will use each time and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. The purpose is to allow us to take out only the necessary amount of frozen food and minimize the exposure of the rest to air.

Also, we often hear the pundits’ opinions that once used, the quality of freezer bags, as well as plastic wrap, deteriorates and transfers unpleasant odor onto the food, that the bags are no longer sanitary and therefore they should be discarded after a single use. 

10. Wrapping for freezing (2) 

If I follow the “professionals” all the time, however, I would end up needing a lot of freezer bags and wrap. It means I would produce a lot of plastic waste as well as need a lot of money to buy them.

Also, can I tell a difference between food frozen in the fresh freezer bags and in reused bags or containers of glass or sturdy plastic? I don’t think so. 

Then, I will not depend on bags and wrap too much; I found other ways. For now, I am freezing as follows when I can:

  1. Arrange food in a flat, metal tray so that they don’t have contact with each other and freeze for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Once almost frozen, they don’t stick to each other. Then put everything in a large freezer bag or a container, and keep in freezer.
  2. Fill an airtight container with cooked rice, etc. and freeze. It’s good for the food to fill it up and leave no space for air to remain in the container.

11. Thawing of fried bean curd

In thawing, transfer only the necessary amount to the refrigerator the day before you use it. Of course you can microwave just for 15 or 30 seconds.

You don’t want to tear the big ones if you want to use as pouches. For these, you should thaw first then carefully peel them apart.

On the other hand, sometimes, just break them, frozen, in the bag as much as you want and throw in your hot miso soup that you are making. They are ready in three minutes. If they are used like this, it doesn’t matter if they are already broken. 

Now you are ready to make o-inari-san! => How To Make O-Inari-san

Related Links

[End of the English post]

An image of fried bean curd in a freezing bag

Photo 8 A freezing bag with abura-age, air squeezed out and dated. 空気を抜いて日付を入れたところ


  1. 油揚げの買い溜め
  2. 冷凍?調理?決断はすばやく
  3. 油抜きとは
  4. 手っ取り早い油抜きの方法
  5. 一般的な油抜きの方法
  6. しっかり油を抜きたい場合
  7. 油揚げの食べ方
  8. 仕分けと冷凍
  9. 冷凍の包装材(1)
  10. 冷凍の包装材(2)
  11. 解凍


1. 油揚げの買い溜め



2. 冷凍?調理?決断はすばやく

パック入りの油揚げは、ふかふかした感じです (Photo 2)。これはたくさん空気を含んでいるためで、おいしそうですが、反面酸化が早く、一週間も冷蔵庫に入れておくといたみます。(いたむと、開封したとき油臭さとは別に変な匂いがするので、わかります)




3. 油抜きとは





4. 手っ取り早い油抜きの方法


5. 一般的な油抜きの方法


6. しっかり油を抜きたい場合


鍋に湯を沸かし、沸騰したところに油揚げを入れる。浮いてくるので、お湯の中に押しこみつつ、油をお湯の中に振り出すようにして5~10分ゆでる(Photo 2)。ざるにあけて水気を切りながら冷ます。それから調理か冷凍。

7. 油揚げの食べ方




おいなりさんやきつねうどんを作る場合は、=> おいなりさんの作り方


8. 仕分けと冷凍

油抜きの後、油揚げがさわれくらいに冷めたら、片手を使ってひとつずつ端からくるくる巻き、ぎゅっと握って油っぽい水分を絞り出す(Photo 3)。油抜きの後も、油揚げはとても油っぽい。両手を使うと、さわったものがみんな油っぽくなってしまいます。



今回は、10枚は半分に切り(いなりずしときつねうどん用に)(Photo 4)、5枚は細切り(おみおつけやひじきなどとの煮物用)(Photo 5)、残り5枚は短い細切りにして (サラダや炊き込みご飯用)(Photo 6)、日付を書いた冷凍袋に入れました(Photo 7)。


冷凍袋を閉じる時はできるだけ空気を抜きます(Photo 8)。空気が残っていると、霜がつきやすい。

9. 冷凍の包装材(1)





10. 冷凍の包装材(2)


何度も使った袋で冷凍したり、ガラスやプラスチックの容器で冷凍した場合と比べて、真新しい袋を使って冷凍した場合、味に違いが出るでしょうか? 私にはあまりわかりません。


  1. 油揚げのひと切ひと切れが互いに触れないように、平らな金属の入れ物に広げて30分から1時間ほど冷凍する。だいたい凍ったこの状態なら互いにくっつかなくなるので、改めて大きな袋か容器に入れて冷凍保存する。
  2. ご飯などは、密閉容器にできるだけいっぱいに詰めて冷凍する。いっぱいにすれば空気が容器に残らない。

11. 解凍






  • 英文部末尾をご覧ください。


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