I’m not very fond of tofu honestly, but like with most things, I want to learn to appreciate it slowly, learn what makes this ingredient so popular even in a city like ours where paneer is available in abundance. Silken tofu has this supple soft texture that makes it crumble easily, so it works great if you’re going to swap out say scrambled eggs for scrambled tofu, but the one we’re using for this recipe is firm tofu. Now the first thing you need to know about using firm tofu is that the moisture needs to be drained out, so it’s best if you either pat-dry it before starting or put a heavy weight on top to press the moisture out of the tofu slab. Next, you could either deep-fry the tofu like you’d usually do for paneer going in a gravy, or alternately pan-fry it like I do, with a bit of braising action in a super flavourful soy-ginger marinade that coats the tofu like a sticky glaze when done.
I used Ai’s Momen Tofu to make this recipe and it turned out great! You can pick it up online from Big Basket right away.
Tofu 250g, drained and cut into 1/2 inch slabs, pat-dried (I used Ai’s Momen or firm tofu)
Soy sauce 1/4 cup
Garlic 3-4 cloves, grated
Ginger 1-inch piece, grated
Red chilli powder 1 tbsp
Sesame Oil 1 tsp
Sugar 2 tbsp
Mirin 1 tbsp (if you don’t have Mirin, just up the sugar)
Scallion 1, green-parts only, chopped
Red chilli 1, freshly chopped
Sesame seeds lightly toasted (optional)
Vegetable Oil for pan-frying
In a wide frying-pan, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat till the oil is quite hot and lightly smoking. In batches, fry the tofu in this oil. At first it will feel like the tofu is sticking, but give it a minute. It will form a crisp golden coat and become easy to flip. Get a good colour going on both sides and drain on paper towels and keep aside.
In a bowl, stir together the soya sauce, garlic, ginger, chilli powder, sesame oil, sugar, mirin. Wipe out the frying pan that you fried the tofu in and reserve a tablespoon of the oil. Bring this back to a medium-heat and add in the marinade sauce. Let it heat thoroughly before you add the pieces of tofu to the sauce and let it reduce over medium-high heat to a sticky consistency, periodically coating the tofu in the sauce surrounding it.
Add the chopped red chillies and chopped scallions and take it off the heat. Serve immediately.