Crispy-fried tofu with stir-fried vegetables
Crispy-fried tofu is probably one of the best ways I know of jazzing up tofu. The basic technique is based on the classic Japanese dish Agedashi tofu, where cubes of tofu (customarily silken) are dusted with cornstarch and deep-fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside, yet warm and soft on the inside. The fried tofu is then traditionally served with a hot broth poured over the top and garnished with chopped scallion.
For our version of fried tofu we use firm tofu instead of silken, and we cut it into triangular pieces instead of cubes. We also prefer to pan-fry the tofu in just a couple of tablespoons of oil instead of deep-frying it. (As long as you heat the oil slowly in the skillet first before adding the tofu you’ll guarantee it won’t stick, and ensure it turns a lovely golden brown color and gets a nice crunchy coating.)
And while the tofu is cooking you can get on with stir-frying or braising veggies, preparing rice or noodles, or basically making whatever it is you plan to serve the crispy-fried tofu with. In this recipe we team it with a super simple stir-fry of broccoli, red pepper and scallion with a Chinese sesame-soy sauce that provides a rich depth of flavor and lovely unctuous texture.
An important thing to remember about this dish is to add the tofu right at the last moment, as it starts to lose its crispiness if it sits in the sauce for too long.
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 oz (230g) block of firm tofu
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch (plus extra cornstarch for coating tofu)
2 cups small broccoli florets
1 red pepper — thinly sliced
1 scallion — thinly sliced on diagonal
2 cloves garlic — finely chopped