Sunday, February 28, 2010

Home Style Tofu

Home Style Tofu

This is one of my favorite Chinese takeaway dishes, but I haven't found any decent versions of it here in New York, where they don't believe in frying things properly. Every place I've tried has either used bad, crumbly tofu, or barely fried it (and raw tofu is not very appetizing). I tried to replicate the way my favorite Chinese place in Cleveland makes it, using this recipe as a guide. I much prefer my way of frying tofu to the way the recipe suggests (so I've put mine in here), but otherwise this turned out well. Not quite the same as at Chopstick, but close enough to satisfy me for now.

1 package firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and dried
1/4 cup Asian bean paste (I found it at Whole Foods)
1/4 Chinese chili sauce (I used Sriracha because it's thin)
1 teaspoon sugar (I used palm sugar, since I had it)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 head broccoli
1 small bell pepper
1 large shallot
1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
1 tablespoon rice wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 rice cooker cups of rice

Put the rice in the rice cooker or on the stove. Cut the tofu into cubes. Heat 1/2 cup oil over high heat and slide in the tofu cubes, being careful not to splash yourself. Fry them for about five minutes on each side, or until they're a fairly dark golden brown. Use a slotted spatula to transfer them to a paper towel-covered plate and set aside.

Mix the bean paste, chili sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and set next to the stove. Pour out about half the oil, and reheat the remaining 1/4 cup on medium heat (alternately, use a fresh 1/4 cup). Chop the broccoli, pepper, and shallot and stir-fry in the oil until softened.

Turn up the heat and add the scallions and ginger. Stir-fry for one minute, then add the bean paste and chili mixture. Stir until mixed through, then add the fried tofu, water chestnuts, rice wine, and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and stir for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat, stir in the bean sprouts, and serve over the rice.

I mis-measured the soy sauce and this came out quite a bit saltier than I wanted, but overall was a good dish. Maybe next time I go to Cleveland I'll ask the people at Chopstick exactly what they put in their sauce.

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