Sunday, 9 April 2017

Peanut-satay tofu

NBD but this is the BEST tofu you are ever every going to eat. Crispy tofu with a thick peanut-satay dipping sauce and rice noodles. It's so good.

I was a tofu-hater until I learned how to cook it properly; largely through trial and error. There's quite a lot of internet guidance about boiling it in hot, salted water before drying it out...but I can't be bothered to spend such a long time faffing around so I avoid that and it still comes out really crispy and delicious.

What you need:
Silken tofu block
Rice noodles, 1 packet per person
Veggies of your choice thinly sliced (red pepper and carrots for me)

For the peanut-satay sauce:
1/2 red onion, cut in half again
A quarter of ginger diced (about a thumb sized piece)
1 clove of garlic
1 red chilli, diced
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
2 teaspoons of soy sauce
3/4 heaped tablespoons of peanut butter
Coconut oil (to thin it out so just as much as you like)
A fistful of peanuts
1 spring onion (cut into small pieces)

Use the best peanut butter you can; crunchy and with more of the good stuff. I used this and it tasted great:

First a little note on tofu:

Tofu, cooked right, is delicious. Crispy and crunchy outside with a soft and smooth centre, it can't be beaten. When I want to eat tofu nothing else will do. It is so nice but the secret is in how you cook it. Tofu, if it's not cooked well, can be really disgusting. I think the key is to understand tofu is never going to be like meat, it's not even going to be close to that. If you treat it as an ingredient on it's own rather than trying to cook it as you would with meat it can make a great meal.

Tofu preparation:

I can't overstate this - you cannot skip this step. If you skip it or rush it the tofu will not be crispy. When you buy tofu it's sat in water and that water permeates the entire block; it's a bit like a sponge with lots of pockets full of water. If you want properly crisp tofu you have to get as much of that water out as possible.

Remove your block from the liquid and pat it down as much as you can with a kitchen towel. It will most likely be completely sodden but that's fine- that's what we want!

Cut the block in half and then into 2cm pieces. The tofu will be really damp inside, let me demonstrate:

We have to remove that water to get the slices crisp. To do this, first pat down all of the edges of the tofu pieces with a cloth or kitchen towel. Then to remove as more water we're going to press the tofu with some weight on it. Lay out a baking tray and cover it with at least 2 kitchen towels - microfibre towels are the best ones to use if you have them. Lay out all of the tofu and sprinkle generously with sea salt.

Now fold over the edges of the towel so the tofu is completely enclosed. You want the tofu pieces to be surrounded by towel on every edge. Add a baking tray on top and then weigh it down; I used 6 cans and 2 bowls. Leave the tofu weighed down like this for as long as possible. This is great to do the night before or a couple of hours before but the absolute minimum time would be 45 minutes...

For the sauce:
Add all of the ingredients , bar the peanuts, into a blender and blitz. Add coconut milk to thin the sauce out to your likening. It thickens as it cooks so once you are at the consistency you want, add another shot of coconut milk.

Fry the peanuts on a low heat until they have some colour.

Then add your blended sauce to the pan and cook on low for 15 minutes. If it is too thick, add more coconut milk, if its too thin, then cook it for a bit longer. Keep stirring it so it doesn't burn.

You'll know when it's ready because it turns from that ^^^ to this...

Check on the tofu. The slices will be a lot dryer now which is what we need to get it crispy. The slices should feel a little tacky to the touch.

Add a glug of sesame oil to a pan and put it on a high heat.  Add the tofu in and move around to make sure it crisps on both sides.

Whilst they cook; prepare the noodles with the sliced vegetables in boiling water

...and voila; it's done.

Lay the noodles out and stack the tofu on top. Add the vegetables to the side. Pour the dipping sauce into small bowls and scatter it with the spring onion.

Serve with chopsticks/forks and enjoy.
I use chopsticks - check out these cute ones I picked up from the world market in New York.

I really wish they had this store in the UK I loved everything in there and really had to restrain myself from getting everything.

Until next time,



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