This potato and tofu balls recipe is really delicious and a perfect dish to bring to a potluck or any holiday gathering. The tofu balls are made with simple ingredients and are air-fried until golden brown then quickly braised with a flavorful sauce.
Tofu balls key ingredients
- Firm tofu – This tofu has a good amount of water, so be sure to squeeze out all the moisture. There are 2 ways to do so: (1) place tofu in a nut milk bag [check video] or (2) use a bench scraper (check my Vegan Unagi’s recipe).
- Sauteed vegetables – A mix of onion, carrot, and veggie stems are great combination in this recipe. The most important note is to cut these ingredients into tiny bits so they will bind better with the tofu.
- Toasted nuts – I love crunchy texture, so adding nuts give another layer of flavor and mouthfeel. Feel free to substittue with water chestnut or jicama for a nut-free version.
- Seasoning – A simple mix of salt and pepper along with mushrooms seasoning (such as Po Lo Ku, picture below) is enough to give these tofu balls the maximum flavors.
How to make potato tofu balls
Part 1: Make the tofu balls
First, sauté the vegetables in a heated non-stick skillet until tender and season with salt and pepper. In the last two recipes, I added the vegetables raw but chopped them into tiny bits. Both ways work, so pick your favorite method. A quick note that sautéeing the veggies first will create a more tender bite and the onion may look more caramelized after air-fried.
Next, place tofu in a nut milk bag, then mash and squeeze to remove the tofu’s liquid. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add the vegetables, crushed toasted almonds, and season accordingly.
Once you’ve mixed everything together, add a spoonful of cornstarch. The mixture should be moist but not too dry.
Then, roughly divide into 12 portions. I simply patted the mixture evenly in a bowl and use my fingers to create 12 lines as a guide. Take each portion and roll it into a ball.
Tip: To check if you can form the mixture into a ball, take a spoonful and pack it in between your palms, and mold it into a round ball.
Part 2: Bake the vegetables and tofu balls
To save time, I’m using the air fryer to roast the potatoes and carrots. First, preheat it to375F°F (190°C) for about 2-3 minutes. Then, coat these two ingredients nicely with oil. Roast for about 10-12 minutes. Empty the vegetables to a plate.
Now, increase the temperature to390F°F (200°C). Using the same basket with the remaining oil from roasting vegetables, place the tofu balls in one layer, slightly apart. Spray the top with additional oil. Air-fry tofu balls until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Check the tofu balls at 4-5 minutes and give it a shake for an even frying. Cook the tofu balls in batches if you have a smaller air-fryer like mine.
Part 3: How to put together
Next, heat the same skillet with a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Sauté ginger until aromatic followed by chili peppers.
Add the soy sauce (be careful as it will splash) and water. Season with vegan oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and dark soy sauce (for color).
Once the sauce comes to a boil, add the potatoes and carrots. Cover with a lid and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender. Taste the sauce and season with more soy sauce if needed. Then, slowly thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry until your desired consistency.
Add the tofu balls and coat them well with the sauce. Fold in the chopped scallions and serve the dish warm with rice.
Potato and Tofu Balls Cooking Tips
- My tofu balls fall apart – You need to remove most of the tofu liquid before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. Take a spoonful of mixture and try to mold it into a ball. If it’s too wet, you can add more cornstarch. If it’s too dry, add veggie stock. When molding the ball, use both of your palms to squeeze it to remove air pocket. The more air pockets you have, the easier it will break down when cooked.
- Can I bake the tofu balls? – Yes, place them on a greased baking pan, spray the top with oil and bake in a preheated oven of 425F until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Please note that baked tofu balls may have a flatter bottom, so flipping in between cooking can minimize this.
- Can I store tofu balls? Yes! Once you’ve air-fried the balls, save them in a container and reheat when ready.
Other tofu recipes to try
This is Potato and Tofu Balls dish is
- a Perfect for potluck or any holiday centerpiece
- Easily customizable – replace soy sauce with tamari or gluten-free version if needed
- good use for a clean-the-fridge days
- TASTY and delicious
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Potato and Tofu Balls
- 2 medium-sized potatoes 1lb, roughly chopped
- 1 medium-sized carrot roughly chopped
- 16 oz firm tofu
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped kale stems
- ½ cup chopped carrot frozen or fresh
- 3 tablespoons toasted almonds coarsely chopped
- salt and pepper to season
- ½ teaspoon mushrooms seasoning
- sesame oil
- cooking oil
- a handful of chopped scallions
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with about a tablespoon of oil. Sauté onion, carrot, and kale stems until tender, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Next, place tofu in a nut milk bag to squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Empty to a large mixing bowl, then add the cooked vegetables, and toasted almonds. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, a dash of pepper, ½ teaspoon of mushroom seasoning, and a drizzle of sesame oil. Using your hand or spatula, mix to combine. Add about a tablespoon of cornstarch and mix to combine. You should be able to form into a ball easily, if not, add another tablespoon of cornstarch. Roughly divide into 12 equal portions and roll each one between your palms into a ball.
- Preheat your air-fryer to 375F (190C). Meanwhile, place chopped carrots and potatoes on a shallow plate and coat them generously with a tablespoon of oil. Transfer to the air-fryer inner rack and roast for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Empty to a bowl.
- Next, preheat the air-fryer to 390F (200C). Arrange the tofu balls, in one layer, on the air-fryer inner rack, adding more oil if needed. Air-fry tofu balls for 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Cook in batches if needed.
- Prepare a thin cornstarch slurry by mixing 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water.
- Heat the same skillet above with a few teaspoons of oil. Sauté ginger until aromatic and stir-fry the chili peppers for a few more seconds. Add the soy sauce (be careful as it will splash) and water. Season with vegan oyster sauce, sugar, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper.
- Add the roasted carrot and potatoes. Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 2-3 minutes.
- Uncover, and slowly add in the cornstarch slurry and thicken until desired thickness. Finally, add the tofu balls and toss until well-coated, then fold in the scallions. Serve warm with a bowl of rice.
Feel free to pin the below picture on your Pinterest Board for easy reference.
Products I’ve used:
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means if you decide to purchase through my link I will receive a small commission for qualified purchases. Some products shown may have different brands from Amazon that I recommend as a suggestion. The links are embedded in the picture or shown as hyperlinks. Please note that these sauces generally have a lower price at the store.
1. Mushrooms Seasoning or use Yondu, an umami leek seasoning.
2. Dark Soy sauce – this is for color and feel free to skip it. This dark soy sauce is on the saltier side, so adjust the sauce’s taste accordingly if skipping this ingredient.