Spicy Indonesian Tofu
Are you skeptical about tofu? Don’t be. If you follow this recipe, your tofu will end up being a delicious ingredient in an utterly delicious dish. As always, the dish is predominantly beige in appearance. However, it is not on the dull side of flavor. Quite the opposite: It’s a flavor explosion that we can’t get enough of! Do not be scared by the ingredients. I know they sound just nuts - but it all comes together nicely. So go ahead, give tofu another shot! Serve this dish with Jasmin rice to make it a complete meal.
2 lbs. firm tofu, drained and cut into ¼ inch chunks
½ cup corn oil for frying the tofu
1 cup cornstarch 1 ½ sticks of unsalted butter
12 shallots (whole, or if they are large, halved)
8 fresh red chili peppers (do not use overly spicy ones), halved, de-seeded, and cut crosswise into thin strips 12 large garlic gloves, peeled and smashed
3 Tbs. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 Tbs. Ketjap Manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)
3 Tbs. light soy sauce (not the low-sodium “light” soy sauce often sold in stores, but actual light-colored soy sauce popular in Chinese cuisine)
2 Tbs. dark soy sauce
2 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. black peppercorns, crushed
6 green onions, sliced
Let’s get started:
Put the tofu chunks in a bowl, add the cornstarch, and gently toss until all tofu pieces are covered with cornstarch. Pour the oil into a large, deep pan. Heat over medium-high heat. Shake off the excess cornstarch and carefully add the tofu pieces to the hot oil.
Gently brown tofu pieces on all sides until they have a nice golden hue.
Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Wipe pan clean and add the butter.
Reduce heat to medium. When the butter has melted, add the shallots, chilis, ginger, and garlic. Fry for 15 minutes, stirring frequently and ensuring that nothing burns.
Now add the three soy sauces and the sugar. Stir. Sprinkle the crushed black pepper on top. Stir. Add the tofu and stir until all pieces are covered with the sauce. Let the tofu get hot for a minute or two. Add the green onions, stir. Serve and enjoy!