(Kirk McKoy, Los Angeles…)
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 appetizer portions
Note: If you can't find fried tofu, use the firmest fresh tofu you can get. Press the tofu down, leaving something heavy (such as a cutting board stacked with your heaviest cookbooks) on top to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and dust lightly with cornstarch before frying.
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 stalk green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chile, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5-7 ounces fried tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the green onion, garlic, chile and black pepper, and stir to combine. Set aside. This makes about one-third cup dipping sauce.
2. Pan-fry the cubes of tofu in a wok or medium, heavy-bottom saucepan: Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the wok or pan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Test the oil with one cube of tofu, adjusting the heat as necessary so the cube fries quickly but does not burn. Fry the cubes in a single layer, making sure the pieces do not touch, until crisp on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes total. Repeat until all of the tofu pieces are cooked; this may need to be done in 2 batches.
3. Drain the pieces on a paper towel-lined plate.
4. Serve the fried tofu hot with the dipping sauce on the side.
Each serving: 191 calories; 9 grams protein; 7 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 15 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 762 mg. sodium.