In general, I love tofu. I loved it before I even moved to Indonesia, and then found that it was a constant (and safe) option on every Indonesian table. It’s just bland enough to go with everything and can be cooked in dozens of ways and Indonesian chefs fully take on this challenge.
It’s sauteed, stewed, boiled and added to curry dishes, compacted and fried, battered in crunchy magic (known as the regional masterpiece tahu Sumedang,) fried, and deep fried.
If Bubba had been an Indonesian man and not from a Southern Shrimping family, there would be an iconic scene where Tom Hanks and Mykelti Williamson scrub the floor with toothbrushes, mouths watering as they dream of tofu gumbo and tofu and potatoes.
Gehu is one of my favorite tofu snacks in Indonesia. They take tofu, stuff it with sauteed vegetables (and sometimes mystery meats, but we don’t talk about those), and then deep fry it, which really appeals to my Midwest soul.
The end result is crunchy, spicy, and just the right amount of greasy.
*Warning: this level of greasy is not to be taken lightly. I ate two in a row once and wanted to die. One is generally enough.
The inside mixture is usually a combination of stir-fried cabbage and peppers, giving this treat its firey taste, but the best stalls fry their tofu in spiced oil as well, elevating the spice level.
Although I have found this common street food everywhere I’ve traveled in Indonesia, it appears as though the name gehu is the Sundanese title while the Jawanese of East Java simply refer to this as tahu pedas, spicy tofu.
It is also cheaper in the West. Four pieces of spicy-stuffed tofu is generally Rp. 5,000 while one piece is often Rp. 3,000 in East Java.