This tofu recipe from Luke Nguyen gets a good kick from the pepper though you can dial up the chilli component if you like it extra spicy. Serve with steamed rice (and steamed greens if you’re feeling healthy). It takes around 30 minutes from start to finish and serves 4. You will need:
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) vegetable oil
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) silken tofu, drained and cut into 3 cm (1¼ inch) cubes
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced red Asian shallots
- 1 bird’s eye chilli, finely sliced
- 4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 spring onions (scallions), cut into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to garnish
Pour the oil into a wok and heat to 180°C (350°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 15 seconds.
Add the tofu, cooking it in two batches to ensure the oil stays hot, and deep-fry until crisp. Remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towel to drain.Transfer the deep-frying oil into a heatproof deep bowl, leaving about 1 tbsp of oil in the wok.
Add the garlic, Asian shallots and chilli to the wok, and stir-fry for 1 minute or until fragrant.
Add the tomato, salt, sugar and fish sauce. Stir and allow the tomato to break down.
Add 100 ml (3½ fl oz) water to the wok, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the crisp tofu, spring onions and black pepper, folding it all together, and simmer for no longer than 1 minute as you want to keep the crisp texture of the tofu.
Garnish with coriander.
NOTE: the recipe calls for silken tofu but I’ve tried different types and a soft-medium texture also works well.