Tofu or not tofu…

Originally posted January 13th, 2013

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I had some silken tofu in the fridge. I’ve never really looked into what you could do with soft tofu other than maybe use it in smoothies and vegan pie-fillings… I am a fan of soft tofu when it comes to Malaysian style curries and such, so to fill my Sunday afternoon as well as my tummy, I decided to do some sort of silken tofu wok thing.

Other things I had in the fridge: aubergine, courgette, cucumber, mushrooms, ginger and red chillies. Add to that, from the cupboard: garlic, toasted sesame oil and noodles. Something hot and sweet, with the aubergine turning all smooth and velvety was what I had in mind. But what to do with the tofu?

Thank the culinary gods for other bloggers! http://omnivore-almostveg.blogspot.fi/2012/05/pan-fried-silken-tofu-with-ginger-lime.html

I’d never thought of cutting soft tofu into cubes and coating them lightly with flour. I didn’t have corn flour, which obviously would have been ideal. But I had some fine, plain flour, so I went with that.

I started with sesame oil in a pan, added ginger, one chilli and one clove of garlic, all chopped up. Once the oil was hot and infusing all the gorgeous flavours, I added the aubergine bits. After a while I added the courgette and sliced mushrooms. After frying them a bit, I added a dash of fish sauce and a dollop of sweet soy sauce. Hoping for some acidity, but with no lime juice to hand, I poured in a tiny amount of apple vinegar. Yes, apple vinegar. And to balance it out, some muscovado sugar.

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As this was going on, I’d put the block of soft tofu to drain on top of some kitchen paper. I then cut it in squares and carefully took each piece of tofu and rolled it in flour. I then took the veggies out of the pan and left them to wait on a plate. I placed the tofu squares in the pan instead and added a bit of sesame oil. They quickly started frying. When I was happy with the colour, I added the veggies back, adding sliced cucumber and chopped, fresh coriander – and poured some more sweet soy sauce on top.

I’d cooked some basic noodles and added those to the pan, tossing everything around a bit. And that was that.

Ingredients for one person:

toasted sesame oil

a small piece of ginger

1 clove of garlic

1 small chilli

1/3 aubergine

1/3 courgette

5 mushrooms

1 packet of soft tofu (300 gr)

plain flour

a bit of cucumber

fish sauce

sweet soy sauce

something acidic (lime juice or some sweet type of vinegar)

muscovado sugar

fresh coriander

noodles

Verdict: Coating the tofu with flour is a good idea. I would recommend using corn flour, which has more flavour and a nice texture to it, when fried… Plain flour worked ok and the tofu squares didn’t break or get too messed up, but I suspect corn flour would have been even better. As for the rest of the dish, I think aubergine with sweet soy sauce and chilli is always wonderful, and adding some cucumber really balanced out the hotness nicely. Some acid and sugar are good too, and I was surprised how the apple vinegar wasn’t such a bad idea. The aubergine really soaked up all the spices and sauce and became dark and caramelized. Yummy! And I really think this experiment gave me faith to try stuff with silken tofu in the future…

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