ankakedoufu japanese tofu with dashi ankake bowl

Ankake Doufu (Savory Dashi Sauce): Irresistible Japanese Tofu Recipe

Ankakedoufu (simmered tofu wit an sauce) could be your new favorite way to enjoy tofu. If you enjoy thick savory dashi and soy sauce based seasonings, you might thoroughly enjoy this tofu dish! It’s only got a handful of ingredients, but the texture and flavor would make you think otherwise. have you tried ankake yet? perhaps this could be the beginning of a long tasty relationship! 
ankakedoufu japanese tofu with dashi ankake bowl

What is Anakake あんかけ?

‘Ankake’ literally translated means ‘sauce poured’ or ‘covered’.
‘An’ is a savory sauce typically made with dashi broth thickened using a starch like arrowroot starch(葛粉 – kuzoko) or potato starch (片栗粉 – katakuriko).
if you’ve never had it before, it’s like gravy but without all the fat.
and despite having no fat, it’s got plenty of flavor and richness to it.
thanks to the dashi and soy sauce base
and if that’s not enough for you…
you might be curious how to enhance the flavor of the ankake even more….

ankakedoufu japanese tofu with dashi ankake donburi
ankakedoufu donburi (rice bowl) with mitsuba and wasabi

how can you enhance the flavor of this ankakedoufu ?

tofu has an extremely delicate and mild flavor.
and it’s also somewhat porous so will allow you to season it easily by simmering.
because of that, one of my favorite ways to enhance the flavor of tofu is to simmer it in dashi.
you can use any kind of dashi, like this shiitake konbu dashi or traditional katsuobushi dashi or just konbu dashi alone.
and that’s the secret – to simmer the tofu in dashi!
if you haven’t tried it yet, you might be in for a delicious surprise.
you can use this for other types of tofu dishes too like hiyayakko (japanese style cold tofu)
although subtle – it makes a difference
if you haven’t yet, try it out and see for yourself!
you know you cant ever really have too much umami…
can you ?

How do you make ankake?

at it’s core ankake is extremely simple to make.
most recipes call for a dashi base along with soy sauce, sake and or mirin and sugar if you like things sweet.
in order to thicken the an, you have to use a starch of some kind.
in japan, most often this will be potato starch or arrowroot starch.
however, if you don’t have those or can’t find them easily, you can also use corn starch or tapioca starch.
the key to making the an sauce with a smooth and even consistency is quite simple. here’s a brief overview in 5 steps

  1. suspend the starch in a little bit of water to make a slurry
  2. quickly stir the starch slurry in to your hot liquid (dash broth)
  3. after adding it, give the an sauce a good mix or two so it’s evenly distributed
  4. bring the sauce to a gentle boil to ensure it’s been completely activated (thickening will be obvious -what was once soupy and watery should be come nice and thick like a glaze or gravy.)
  5. serve immediately while hot

note: in general, ankake is best eaten the day it’s made. refrigeration and reheating tends to break down the starch and thickness so it may not be as thick in texture as leftovers. 

How do you use ankake?

there are many ways you can enjoy ankake. Some examples include

  • stand alone with tofu or protein of choice
  • with sauteed vegetables
  • with noodles like udon or pan-fried chukamen (chinese noodles) with vegetables
  • with rice (donburi rice bowl)

For additional umami, gently cook your tofu in dashi stock for a few minutes before topping with the ‘an.

watch the video below to see how we made this – Japanese tofu recipe | Ankake Doufu (Savory Dashi Sauce) 🍚

if you enjoyed this post and or are looking for more japanese tofu recipes, consider buying my tofu cookbook – Tofu Ryouri – Simple Japanese tofu recipes to cook healthier at home
Tofu Ryouri- Simple Japanese Tofu Recipes to Cook Healthier at Home


Japanese tofu recipe | Ankake Doufu (Savory Dashi Sauce)

ankakedoufu japanese tofu with dashi ankake bowl
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Japanese



For tofu

  • 1 block soft tofu
  • 23 in. square piece of konbu (5g ~2 cups water)
  • 23 stalks Green onion (finely chopped)
  • 23 tsp Ginger (grated)

For the an sauce

  • 1 cup dashi
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Potato starch (dissolved in 2 Tbsp water)
  • wasabi


for the tofu

  1. Cut tofu into 6-8 large blocks.
  2. Using a medium pot on low heat, add 1 cup water, konbu, and tofu. Allow to simmer (~15 min) while you prepare the other ingredients and make the an sauce.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tofu blocks from the konbu stock, place in a small bowl.

For the an sauce

  1. Using a small pot, combine the dashi stock, soy sauce, and sugar. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, add in the potato starch slurry and mix continuously for the first 15-20 seconds until the liquid has thickened evenly. Turn off heat.
  3. Place tofu blocks on a bowl with rice or serving dish, pour over the thickened sauce.
  4. Top with green onions, wasabi, and ginger.


Tips for working with potato starch (katakuriko):
– Always dissolve the potato starch in water, 1:1 or 1:2 ratio, never add direct or you’ll get clumps
– Before adding, stir to redissolve starch if it has settled to the bottom
– Constantly stir while adding to the hot pot.
– Always ensure the solution you’ve added it to is very hot, if you don’t notice thickening right away, your broth may not be hot enough. Continue heating on medium-high heat until you notice it starts to thicken.

Note- The konbu stock still has plenty of umami and can be reused for things like tounyuu nabe or iridoufu

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2 thoughts on “Ankake Doufu (Savory Dashi Sauce): Irresistible Japanese Tofu Recipe”

    1. depends on the brand, silken might be too soft for this dish. if it doesnt hold its shape could be difficult to use for this dish unless you dont care about the shape of course!

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Konnichiwa! (Hello!) I'm Pat Tokuyama, a Japanese tofu cookbook author, who travels for music, food, and adventure. If you like Japanese tea, checkout some of the newestorganic japanese teas now in stock!!

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