Saturday, January 7, 2012

Spicy Sesame Tofu

It can be overwhelming, that urge to get something delightful and tasty from your favourite Chinese restaurant. But sometimes you don't have the time or money, and you want something now and on-hand. What to do, what to do!

I'll tell you what to's easy! Here we go!

Spicy Sesame Tofu


1 block firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
1 serving noodles of your choice
2 eggs (optional)
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce, or more to taste
pinch sea salt
sugar, to taste
hot chilli powder, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
pinch ginger (optional)
garlic oil and sesame oil for cooking
black and white sesame seed

1) Heat up a little garlic oil and sesame oil mixed together in a wok or frypan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot enough (it should move quickly when the pan is tilted, like water), cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes and add them to the pan. Stir to coat, careful not to break the cubes. Cook until golden.

2) In a small jar, combine 1 tbsp cornstarch with 2 tbsp water. Place the lid on the jar tightly and shake until the cornstarch and water is completely blended. This creates what is called a slurry, which is used to thicken sauces.

3) Take a saucepan or pot and bring water to boil. Add your noodles to the water and turn the heat down to simmer. Follow the directions on the package about how long to cook them; generally noodles should be tender but not too limp. Once they are done, place in a colander and rinse them with cold water. Stir thoroughly, to be sure you have completely rinsed the noodles.

4) Once the tofu is golden, it is ready for the sauce. If you are going to include the eggs, break two eggs and whisk them together until blended, in a bowl. Add this to the frypan and stir to coat the tofu and cook the eggs. Add the sesame seed and stir.

5) Take the jar with the cornstarch mixture and shake it again once more, to be sure it is blended thoroughly. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, chilli powder, sea salt, sugar, and any other spices you would like, then shake it again until it is blended. You can add a little more water if you are concerned it will not be enough sauce, but be sure not to add too much or the sauce will be too thin. Add it one spoonful at a time, shaking again after each one.

6) Add the noodles to the tofu in the pan and stir, then quickly add the blended sauce, shaking it one last time before it is added. Stir completely, and the sauce will thicken very quickly. Serve while hot!

Tips and Such

- If the sauce doesn't thicken in the pan, make another slurry and add small amounts until it starts to thicken, stirring it into the pan's contents after every addition. If the sauce is too thick, you can just add small amounts of water and stir it around until it becomes more manageable.

- You can cook this dish at lower temperatures, but it takes the slurry being brought to somewhere near the heat needed for a boil, for it to thicken. If the sauce is not thickening, it may simply be that you need to turn up the heat!

- You can add whatever you would like to this recipe, since it is such a simple one. Many vegetables will add a delicious dimension to the taste! Sweet bell pepper, water chestnuts, and peas are just a few tantalising possibilities.

- You can use flour for thickener, but it will impart a certain taste onto the sauce that may not be desirable. Cornstarch does not tend to put very much of its own flavour into sauces, which is why it is preferred; potato starch (called katakuriko in Japanese, as it is often found in Japanese groceries) is also another excellent starch that thickens sauces quickly without changing the desired flavour.

Here are a couple of pictures for you to enjoy! The first is the tofu made with a textured vegan seafood substitute that added a savoury, chewy element.

The second is the tofu with whole wheat noodles, and egg.

As you can see, this recipe is mouth-watering, and it's so easy to make! It takes less than half an hour at most, and you can make it with very inexpensive ingredients.

In this chilly season, it's wonderful to have such a nice simple dish to warm us up from the inside out!

Enjoy your spicy sesame tofu!

};) Dhiar <3