Thursday, July 15, 2004

Fried Tofu

It always amazes me when I hear someone complaining that eating tofu is like having to swallow a kitchen sponge! Of course I realise they are talking about the kind of tofu frequently found in laska's or curries sold in Thai cafes across Australia.

In fact, the spongey tofu they're talking about is but one of the many varieties of tofu available, usually from your garden variety supermarket. There are soft tofus, often flavoured with coconut, mango or vanilla, that can double as custard (or junket for those who remember what that is!). Then there's tempeh, which is a more meaty type of tofu flavoured with spices and frequently used to make veggie burgers.

I like firm Silken tofu, which is excellent for scrambling. It's also good for cutting into cubes and frying to serve as the protein element on a "meat and three veg" dinner. Here's a simple recipe to show you how tasty tofu can be.

1 carton firm Silken Tofu
3 tblsp cornflour
1 egg white
olive oil
2 tblsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tblsp Shoyu soy sauce

1. Cut tofu into cubes - slice in half first, then quarters and work from there to make 16 cubes.

2. Heat fry pan on stovetop. Add enough olive oil to create shallow pool in bottom of pan.

3. Roll each cube of tofu in cornflour, then coat in egg white, drain excess then carefully drop into hot oil. Be careful not to over handle the cubes - the cornflour will stick to your fingers pulling away precious chunks of tofu which end up wasted. I always wash my hands after every second cube to cut down on the chance of this happening. It's time consuming, but it helps improve the quality of the final product.

4. Use a fork or even a pair of chopsticks to turn the tofu in the pan, frying on each side. When lightly browned, remove from pan and rest on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.

5. Serve immediately with sauces and vegetables of your choice. Serve sauces in small condiment dishes, pouring half the sweet chili sauce onto one side of the dish and flooding the other side with half of the Shoyu. Garnish with salad or vegetables of your choice. Serves two.

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