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Sapo Tahu (Clay Pot Tofu)

Posting Date: 12/17/19

Sapo Tahu (Clay Pot Tofu)

Sapo Tahu (Clay Pot Tofu) is traditionally cooked and served in a clay pot. However, nowadays it can be cooked in a pan and is just served in a clay pot. This dish has Chinese influence and can be found in Chinese restaurants in Indonesia. The dish is originally vegetarian and made by using tofu and other vegetables but nowadays seafood and meat can be added to it. My recipe uses tofu, shrimp, and chicken. You can make it vegetarian by eliminating shrimp and chicken and using soy sauce and vegetarian oyster sauce, instead of fish sauce and oyster sauce. Instead of using chicken broth, I use water and chicken bouillon because in my opinion chicken bouillon has more flavor. However, you can use chicken broth if you prefer. Skip chicken bouillon to make it vegetarian or you can use vegetable broth.

This dish is so versatile because you can use any vegetables you like, such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy. I use Napa cabbage because I happen to have it at home. As for the meat, you can use beef or pork, instead of chicken. You can also make it seafood only version using shrimp, calamari, clam, sliced fish balls, etc.

The recipe serves 2-3 people.


  • 5 tablespoons corn starch
  • 19 oz soft tofu, patted dry with paper towel and diced into cubes (1"x1"x1" or any size you pefer)
  • For frying tofu: vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium size onion, sliced
  • 1/2" fresh garlic, minced
  • For sauteing: 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 chicken breast, diced into bite size. Skip to make it vegetarian.
  • 15 large shrimp, peeled and deveined. Skip to make it vegetarian.
  • 1 carrot, diced at an angle (on a bias)
  • 200 grams Napa cabbage, diced
  • Optional: 5 white mushrooms, sliced
  • Optional: 5 dry or fresh shitake mushrooms. If using dry shitake mushrooms, soak the mushrooms in hot water for at least 15 min (until they become soft). Slice the mushrooms once they are soft.
  • 350 ml water
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube. Skip to make it vegetarian.
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce or to taste. Use vegetarian oyster sauce to make it vegetarian.
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or to taste. Use soy sauce to make it vegetarian
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • pinch of pepper or to taste
  • To thicken the sauce: 4.5 tablespoons water
  • To thicken the sauce: 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 green onion, sliced


  1. Place corn starch on a plate. Coat diced tofu with corn starch.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan. Shake excess corn starch from the diced tofu. Fry tofu until all sides are golden brown. You may have to fry them in several batches because we don't want to overcrowd the pan causing the temperature to drop and the tofu to be greasy and soggy. When frying the tofu, do not flip or turn over the tofu until the frying side is already golden brown. If you turn it over too early, the tofu might still be sticking to the pan and thus, you could break the tofu. As soon as the tofu has been golden brown on all sides, remove it using slotted spoon to drain excess oil. Place it on a plate lined with paper towel. Remove the tofu from the plate and place it on a cooling rack. Doing it this way will keep the tofu crispy while you continue frying the remaining tofu. Continue frying the remaining tofu.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a pan. Add garlic, ginger, and onion into the pan. Saute them until they become fragrant. Add diced chicken breast. Stir fry the chicken until it is cooked. Add carrot and shrimp into the pan. Stir fry until shrimp is cooked. Add Napa cabbage, white and shitake mushrooms, water, chicken bouillon, fish sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir to mix. Cook until the water starts to boil and chicken bouillon has dissolved. Taste it and add more seasoning if needed. In a small bowl, add 4.5 tablespoons water and corn starch. Whisk to mix. Add it to the pan to thicken the sauce. Once the sauce start to thicken, remove from the heat and add green onion and fried tofu.
  4. Serve immediately with rice.

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