twig boy cooks – crispy tofu with lemon sauce
Anyone familiar with the incredible 90’s cartoon ‘Doug’ will know that, according to The Beets, tofu is killer. I fully agree. Well, as long as you can get it to taste of something other than a hideous, white slab of nothingness. Fortunately, I can! Fortunately for you, I am willing to share the secret. You should already be pretty clued up on beer battered tofish and chips by now but man/woman/you/me/whoever can’t live on that alone. You need to add some Chinese style dishes to your diet and recipe arsenal. Specifically, this one. It’s incredibly easy, incredibly cheap and tastes pretty, well, incredible.
Ingredients. Serves 2. Prep time – 45 minutes. Cooking time – 20 minutes.
1/2 cup vegetable stock – I used 1/4 cube
1 1/2 lemons
2 tsp sugar – optional depending on taste
2 tsp cornflour + 1 extra tbsp
2 tsp honey
1 cup peas/spring onions etc – optional
2-3 tbsp oil for frying – sesame or peanut oil is good
ONE. You have to start this one off by pressing your tofu. Again, wrap it in kitchen paper, place it between 2 chopping boards, press down and stand a box of wine on top. Works like a charm. Leave it to stand for about 15 minutes changing the kitchen paper if needed.
TWO. When the 15 minutes are up or when you feel you’ve pressed the tofu as much as you can, cut it into cubes and place them into a ziplock bag. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder and the tbsp of cornflour to the bag. Zip it up and give it a big old shake. If you have a friend with you, consider tossing it backwards and forwards to each other. Let’s make cooking fun again! Once your tofu is fully coated, put the bag in the fridge to rest whilst you push on.
THREE. Next up is the lemon sauce. Make up your 1/2 cup of vegetable stock, I added my 2 tsp of cornflour directly to the stock and stirred rapidly for about half a minute. It worked very well. Add this to a small saucepan set on a low heat. Use a hand juicer and go to town on the whole lemon, add the juice to the saucepan and possibly, if you’re feeling adventurous, some of the pulp, it adds an extra kick. Next, cut a wedge out of your lemon half and throw that in. You want a tangy sauce. Add your honey and taste. If it is sweet enough for you add some salt and let it do it’s thing, if it’s too tart you might want to add some more sugar. Go slowly when adding the sugar and continuously taste test. You don’t want to ruin it. When you are content with the taste bring the mixture to the boil, lower the heat and let it simmer until it thickens to a thick, sticky almost glaze-like consistency.
FOUR. Frying the tofu. If you own a wok, use it. Be authentic at least! If not, get yourself a frying pan or large saucepan, they are all basically the same. Heat your oil and let it get to a medium/high temperature. You can test this by cutting off a sliver of tofu and dropping it in. If it starts to sizzle, you are good to go. Add the tofu and fight the urge to instantly stir it around. You really want to let it sit for awhile to get that crispy coating. Leave it for at least 30 seconds before checking one (just one) piece. If it’s stuck to the pan, leave it be for a little bit longer. You want it to look at least as golden as in the picture below. In total, this part can take between 5 and 10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on your sauce, you can add a little water if it get’s to thick for you to handle.
FIVE. Once you are satisfied that your tofu is crispy enough (the crispier the better) toss any extras you might be using in alongside your crispy cubes. I used peas last time but would probably use spring onions next. Just allow them to heat through.
SIX. Your sauce should be amazingly thick and just ‘yeah, wow’ by now. Add a tbsp or 2 to your crispy tofu and give it a stir, throw in a hand full of sesame seeds and stir again. Remove your pan from the heat and serve immediately with rice or noodles. Pour any remaining sauce over your fantastic creation or set aside in a pot for dipping. Enjoy.