Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives


Iri dofu or iri doufu (炒り豆腐) is a simple, homely dish, real Japanese style ‘mother’s cooking’. Probably every Japanese home cook has his or her own recipe, but the base is plain tofu that is crumbled and then stirred around or gently stir fried (the iri 炒り part means that) until it resembles dry scrambled egg. In fact, it’s rather like the tofu version of iri tamago, but with more flavor and texture.

Iri dofu recipes often contain meat (usually pork), dashi or both, but here I have kept it vegan (in keeping with our vegetarian theme for May). I have added umami by including chopped dried shiitake mushrooms, miso and soy sauce. Garlic chives and ginger also add to the flavor, while the sansho pepper (also known as sichuan pepper) adds spice.

The best way to eat this is to simply pile it onto rice. Of course it’s perfect for a easy, healthy bento.

Recipe: Vegetarian iri dofu or iri doufu

This makes about 3 cups. A 1/2 cup serving is around 150 calories.

  • 1 large block of firm tofu (450g / 1lb)
  • A bunch of garlic chives or green onion, chopped (to yield about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped - only if you’re using green onions and not garlic chives
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbs. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs. mild white miso
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • Sansho (Sichuan) pepper, or substitute black pepper

At least an hour ahead or the night before, soak the shiitake mushrooms in water. Reserve the soaking liquid.

Chop the garlic chives or green onion, garlic (if you’re using it), and ginger. Cut the stems off the shiitake mushrooms and cut up the caps into small cubes.

Drain the tofu. Place on a plate, uncovered, and microwave on the HIGH or cook setting for about 3 minutes. This is an optional step that gets rid of a lot of the moisture, shortening the cooking time.

Heat up a large frying pan with the sesame oil. Add the chopped vegetables and sauté briefly.

Lower the heat to medium. Add the tofu, crumbling it with your hands. Sprinkle with the salt, which also helps to draw out the moisture from the tofu. Stir and crumble/cut up the tofu with your spatula as you stir it around. The tofu should start to resemble rather dry scrambled eggs.

While the tofu cooks, combine the miso, soy sauce and about 4 Tbs. or so of the mushroom soaking liquid, to make a smooth paste. Add to the pan and continue stirring, until the liquid is completely absorbed and the pan is dry. Finish off with a little ground sansho pepper or black pepper.

Let cool completely before using in a bento. (See it in a ‘donburi’ style bento.)

Make ahead note: I recommend making this the night before. You can store it for a couple of days in the refrigerator, but not longer, since tofu can spoil and/or pick up odors in the fridge. You can freeze it fairly successfully, though the tofu will get a bit spongy. Divide into individual portions for freezing, and use up within a month.


  • Add finely chopped vegetables like carrots, peppers, asparagus, green beans and so on. Whole peas and corn work well too.
  • Add some stewed hijiki.
  • Add chopped or whole nuts like walnuts, cashew nuts, pine nuts, and stir-fry/toast them along with the tofu.
  • You can use iri dofu as a tamagoyaki or scrambled egg filling very successfully.
  • Carnivores can add ground pork, chopped bacon, ham, crumbled sausage meat, or that perennial Japanese favorite, wieners. See Yoko’s version with bacon!

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Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

I love vegan month!! Thanks!!

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

This looks delicious! Defintely having this for me tea this week! I was wondering about the garlic chives - is it possible to replace these with chopped wild garlic stems? I don't even know if wild garlic (ramson, Allium ursinum) stems are edible, but as the leaves and flowers are, I assumed they would be okay. They are in season at the moment, and there is a real glut of them in the woods.

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

In the case of wild garlic, I think I'd use the leaves and flowers, chopped up, and maybe leave the stems, unless they are tender. (They are called Bärlauch (bear leek) in German speaking areas, ail des ours in French, sometimes ramps, etc. for anyone reading along)

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

# 4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in water
# 1 tsp. finely chopped
# 2 Tbs. sesame oil

I tsp. finely chopped what???

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

I put in the missing GINGER. (or ginger root in some neighborhoods)

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

This sounds really good (even to my sore tummy), I think I will be making this for tomorrow's bento. Thanks Maki.

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

Thanks for the mention! I love garlic chives-- I'll have to try your iridoufu sometime. :)

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with WILD GARLIC!

I did it! I think my fiancee is going to hate me, as my breath is a little garlicky...

I used flower stalks plus blanched wild garlic leaves in the iridofu. The things that look a bit wrong are the flower heads, which I tried to make tempura with but...well, suffice to say it dawned on me afterwards that oil hot enough to cook sweet potato or renkon is probably going to cremate a poor little delicate flower. You live and learn...
Great recipe though, thanks Maki! Makes a mean filling for a wholemeal tortilla, too!

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with WILD GARLIC!

That looks awesome! Thanks for posting it!


First off: Looks great! Not too big on tofu in cubes often (too mushy) but this looks delish (instantly bought me some tofu =D) I was just wondering, do you need the dried version of the shiitake, or can you use fresh if available?
In other words: Is there a big difference taste-wise, and how then?

Oh, and on a whole different subject: You seem to be travelling through Europe quite a lot recently (Thanks for the Duesseldorf tips ;-)). But are you planning visiting Amsterdam, perhaps?
I'm going to study there soon (Japanese culture and language combined with business school \o/), and don't live too far away from it anyway, so would be nice to know if you can find something interesting I haven't.

Keep up with the blog, I've made many people a fan, you're doing great as is!!!


Re: Shiitake

You can use fresh mushrooms, but the dried kind has a much more concentrated flavor and a denser texture.

I don't have plans to go to Amsterdam in the near future I'm afraid, but the list of Japanese grocery stores (scroll down to the Netherlands) might be useful. Good luck with your studies!

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

What type of tofu are you using?
There are many types from the market, firm, soft, fried... etc.
I'm a bit confused ^^;;

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

I finally had the chance to make this recently and it is amazing! We'll be making it for dinner tonight too.

Hi anon., we use firm or extra-firm tofu. The kind packed in water, not the type in aseptic packaging.

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

Hi Maki ...
I have been a regular reader of you blog although i comment very rarely...

I perfected my soy milk making and even tofu seeing your posts , have posted the procedures recently on my blog and given your links.

Saw you post today about the tofu scramble meal you are having these days , this is the healthiest way to include tofu in our meals .
I like this kind of scrambled tofu and make it with Indian seasonings , i love it that way .

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

I've been drooling over that image at the top for the past week or so and I finally got a chance to make it yesterday. I didn't do it quite to the recipe - I don't like mushrooms so I omitted them, and I used some red miso since I didn't have any white. Today was so busy I didn't even get a chance to eat it until I was waiting as the bus stop to go home! But it turned out perfectly. It was so tasty and easy to make. I'm going to make some more tonight, for my mother this time.

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

This looks absolutely delicious but mine didnt turn out well at all. Every time I use tofu it ends up being all squishy and although it tastes ok, the texture turns my stomach. Any hints on what I might be doing wrong as I thought I followed all the instructions to the letter. (mind you I have this problem all the time - my hubby says its because I am too impatient to make the dish look more appealing).

Thanks for a great blog and am off to buy your book for my sister who is pure vegetarian whereas I eat just about everything.

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

What a delicious dishes. After I read the recipe, I can say that it is quite similar to what we call omelette. Besides the simple technique, the ingredients are also easy to find in the market so we can cook it anytime we want. Since it contains shitake, there is no reason for me not to try this recipe.

Re: Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

Hi! Just found your blog recently and my bento box arrived today! This was my first attempt and it turned out great (with a few alterations due to a lack of some ingredients). Thanks for the awesome recipe! I am always looking for easy delicious tofu recipes. Can't wait to bring my lunch to work tomorrow! (I've also got your book on the way, can't wait!)

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