I am always looking of new innovative ways to prepare tofu. I discovered tofu in my young manhood, and have been a partisan ever since. The beauty of tofu is that it absorbs the flavor of whatever spice, seasoning or flavoring is being used. This makes it a great substance to cook with. From what I’ve seen, in most Asian restaurants the condiment of choice is soy sauce or hoisin sauce. Another favorite is oyster sauce. I recall back in my youth that, in New York’s Chinatown, one of the favorite, inexpensive dishes in the mon and pop restaurants was steamed vegetables with hoisin sauce. I decided to apply the same principal to tofu. In this case, with fried tofu. The result was marvelous.
As mentioned in prior posts, it’s a good idea, even with extra firm tofu, to have it pressed before cooking. Pressing the tofu squeezes out extra moisture, making it firmer and dryer which means you get a wonderfully crisp exterior when you cook it. Let me add, if you’re using tofu as is, it doesn’t require pressing; but if you are sautéing or shallow frying tofu (or looking to achieve extra crispy tofu), pressing is best. It also holds its shape better during cooking and ensures your seasonings won’t be diluted. Pressing tofu is no big deal: wrap the block of tofu in a paper towel and put it on a large plate with a lip; then put something heavy such as a frying pan on top, weight it down further with cans and jars, and leave for 30 mins. The tofu will be about two-thirds its original thickness, and less than a ¼ teaspoon of water will have been removed. That’s it, now you can go on with the recipe.
I paired the tofu with soba noodles, something very common to Japanese cuisine. If preferred, you can pair it with rice, quinoa, couscous, or string pasta.
TOFU WITH OYSTER SAUCE
1 block tofu ( usually between 14-16 ounces)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons olive oil;
Pepper to taste
¾ cup oyster sauce (or more to taste)
½ cup chopped scallions
- After pressing (see above), rinse tofu under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into bite-sized pieces, about ¼-inch.
- In a small bowl, combine eggs ands flour and whisk until it forms a smooth paste.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over moderate-high heat. Add tofu and stir fry for about 3-4 minutes. Add egg-flour mixture, stirring to ensure all pieces are coated, and cook until tofu is golden. Add pepper to taste, and remove to a serving dish or platter. Top with scallions and serve over soba noodles.
Yield: 4 servings.