Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spicy Fried Tofu

I love crispy and spicy tofu, and this recipe is good because it isn't deep fried. You can serve this tofu on a platter as an appetizer, add it to any stirfry, use it in spring rolls, eat it over cooked grains, or whatever else you can come up with. 

2 -3 Tbsp. canola or peanut oil
1 16 oz. brick of firm or extra firm tofu
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
3 Tbsp. shoyu or tamari
2 Tbsp. mirin (sweet rice cooking wine), optional
1-2 Tbsp. chile garlic paste (according to the heat level you like)
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. Korean chile powder or pure chile powder, optional
Drizzle of pure maple syrup, about 1 tsp. (or agave, etc.)
2-3 dashes brown rice vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar
1 scallion, white and green part, thinly sliced
1 tsp. arrowroot powder or corn starch dissolved in 2 tsp. water, optional

1) For the sauce, whisk together the toasted sesame oil, shoyu, mirin, chile garlic paste, water, chile powder, maple syrup, vinegar, and scallion and set aside.

The pretty measuring cup my friend, Josie, gave me.
2) Heat the canola or peanut oil over medium high heat (more high than medium) in a large non-stick saute pan and slice the tofu into desired shapes, I like big squares. Add the tofu to the heated oil and let it fry for about 5-7 minutes on the first side and  3-5 minutes on the second side (until both sides are browned). NOTE: If you don't use enough oil and don't turn the heat up high enough the tofu will stick to the pan and to each other and will break apart, so don't be meek.

3) Turn the heat down a bit and pour the sauce over the tofu (NOTE: if you want, you can carefully pour the oil out of the pan while holding the tofu in place with a spatula before you add the sauce). Let the sauce simmer and bubble for a few minutes until it thickens a bit. If you want a thicker sauce, add the optional arrowroot or corn starch dissolved with its water and cook for an additional minute.

This tofu makes about 6 appetizer servings or 2-3 main servings and is good dipped in sweet chile sauce as an appetizer, or over brown rice with sauteed enoki mushrooms like the photo to the right.

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