A large bowl of gluten-free vegan fried tofu balls ready to be served. A small side plate rests to the side with one ball with soy sauce and chopsticks.
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These fried tofu balls (or ganmodoki) are a must-try if you love Japanese food. The name “ganmodoki” translates to “mock goose” in English, as it was originally created to mimic the taste and texture of goose meat.

Ganodoki is made by mixing tofu with various ingredients such as vegetables, seafood and seasonings, forming the mixture into patties or balls, and then deep-frying them until crispy on the outside. These fried tody balls are often served as a side dish or used as an ingredient in soups and stews in Japanese cuisine. They’re known for their crunchy texture and savoury flavour.

Below, we’re thrilled to share a recipe for Ganmodoki extracted from Japanese Home Cooking by Maori Murota.

You’ll see in the recipe notes a warning about mirin.

Mirin is a traditional Japanese condiment often used in cooking to add subtle sweetness, depth of flavour, and a glossy finish to dishes. It’s a type of rice wine typically made from glutinous rice, koji (fermented rice), and shochu (a Japanese distilled spirit). Mirin has a lower alcohol content compared to sake, another type of Japanese rice wine, and it’s known for its unique balance of sweetness and acidity.

Different types of mirin are available, ranging from hon-mirin (true mirin), which contains a higher percentage of rice and has a more authentic flavour, to mirin-like condiments made with additional sweeteners and flavourings. As no two brands of mirin are alike, always read the ingredients, as many supermarket brands have been made with gluten-containing ingredients.

Spiral Foods Gluten-Free Mirin is available from Amazon (and sometimes Woolworths)

Spiral Foods produces a gluten-free mirin that is sometimes available from Woolworths. However, it was out of stock at the time of publication. Fortunately, it can be purchased online from Amazon.

Mirin is a staple ingredient in Japanese cuisine, prized for elevating the dishes’ flavour and adding a sweetness touch that enhances the overall dining experience. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook exploring Japanese cooking, we recommend investing in a bottle of gluten-free mirin.

Fried Tofu Dumplings – Ganmodoki

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 4


  • 1 small carrot
  • 4 g dried hijiki seaweed or 2g other dried seaweed, ensure gluten-free
  • 60 g fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • ¼ onion
  • 120 g potatoes
  • 500 g firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • Oil for frying


  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free mirin see note
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch or cornflour


  • 50 g daikon white radish or purple radish, grated
  • 10 g fresh ginger grated
  • Gluten-free soy sauce


  • Peel the carrot and cut into thin matchsticks. Rehydrate the seaweed according to the packet instructions and drain by squeezing between your hands. Cut the shiitake mushrooms into thin strips. Cut the onion into thin slices. Peel and grate the potatoes. In a blender or using a stick blender, blend the tofu completely until you get a paste. Put the tofu, vegetables, seaweed, sesame seeds and seasoning ingredients in a mixing bowl. Shape ten balls with your hands (lightly oil your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking to your fingers).
  • Pour frying oil into a frying pan deep enough to immerse the balls. Heat the oil to 160°C. Fry the ganmodoki for 6 to 7 minutes, until they are nicely golden. Drain and then serve immediately with daikon, grated ginger and soy sauce.


MIRIN – Always check the ingredients when purchasing mirin as many Supermarket brands contain gluten. In Australia, Spiral Foods produce gluten-free mirin. At the time of publication (12/4/24) it was out of stock at Woolworths, but could be purchased online.
TIP – Fried ganmodoki can be stored in a zip-lock bag in the freezer for a few weeks. They are also delicious in oden, a popular Japanese fish cake stew.
The cover of the cookbook Japanese Home Cooking by Maori Murota. It has a light blue background and an illustration of a bowl of udon noodles. A pair of chopsticks at the top right of the over are holding a drawing of half a boiled egg.
Image and text from Japanese Home Cooking by Maori Murota, photography by Hachette Livre (Marabout) Murdoch Books RRP $49.99.
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