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January 13, 2009 / katelynb

Crunchy Peanut Tofu

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BLOGGER: KATELYN

Crunchy Peanut Tofu

2 cups tofu, 5 tablespoons soy sauce

salt, 1 red bell pepper

1 piece cucumber (about 1/2 lb)

1 bunch scallions

2 garlic cloves

4 dried chilis

1 cup vegetable stock

3 tablespoons dark rice vinegar

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

4 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup roasted, salted peanuts

Chop the tofu into cubes about 1/3 inch in size. Combine with 1 tablespoon soy sauce in a bowl and season lightly with salt.

Wash and quarter the pepper, removing the stem and the membranes with the seeds. Cut the quarters crosswise into strips. Wash the cucumber well but do not peel. Halve it lengthwise and scrape out the seeds using a teaspoon. Slice the cucumber across in not too thin slices. Wash the scallions, cut off the root ends and any wilted green tops. Slice the white part of the onions into pieces measuring about 1 1/2 inches and the green tops into thin rings. Reserve some of the greens for garnish. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Crush the chilis with a mortar and pestle.

To make the sauce, combine the stock with the vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Heat the wok on the stove and add at least half the canola oil. Cook the tofu cubes in two portions in the oil over high heat. Stir only occasionally so that the cubes develop a crunchy crust. Once the tofu is browned all over, remove from the wok either with a spatula or a slotted spoon.

Add the remaining canola oil to the wok. Add the pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, and chili and fry for about 3 minutes, stirring all the time. pour in the sauce, add the tofu, and reheat. Meanwhile roughly chop the peanuts. Sprinkle with the nuts and the reserve scallion tops before serving.

I don’t know why people are scared of tofu, it’s a delicious and easy way to get protein into your diet, not to mention pretty inexpensive.  Cubing firm tofu and pan frying it, like we did here is quite possibly the most satisfying way to enjoy it:

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It’s important to be gentle when turning the cubes in the oil because they will break easily and you might end up with something that resembles scrambled eggs.  The cucumbers in this mix I must admit was weird and hard to handle at first, but the flavor changed completely when I ate leftovers the next day.  We served the crunchy peanut tofu over rice  and used chopsticks – my skills are definetely improving!

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