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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pan Fried Tofu with Dark Sweet Soy Sauce 油煎黑酱油豆腐

The joy of cookbooks - there always is something about the line of cookbooks on the shelf that make me feel delighted just at the sight of them. No doubt almost everything and anything these days is always just a click away on the internet, but my selection of cookbooks is nonetheless my personal pride still. No, I don't use them that often, and I hardly do flip through them, not even half as much as the time I spent browsing through the endless food blogs all over the internet. But it always is a simple joy to be taking a book or two out every now and then, discover something new that you have not read or seen before - pretty much back to the old school ways to picking things up in the kitchen. Sometimes it can be a page, or occasionally it can simply be a particular line or a photo that miraculously gives you that little spark of inspiration to try something new or re-create something classical that you have long forgotten. And a good thing about cookbooks? They are yours to be kept indefinitely, to be adapted and improved, to be marked and left with some personal scribbles or notes that will stay despite time.  

This Pan Fried Tofu with Dark Sweet Soy Sauce is one that came from one of those treasures of mine. Adapted from "the Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair", this tofu dish always turns out so perfectly just as promised. Simple yet innovative, tasty and simply elegantly presented. Pan fried to perfect crisp and crunch drizzled on with a dark sweet soy sauce specially concocted, this is something extraordinary out of the very ordinary. The only fine-tune I did - I made it a little more spicier.  

Pan Fried Tofu with Dark Sweet Soy Sauce 油煎黑酱油豆腐  
Adapted from "the Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by Jaden Hair"
Serves 3-4
One 14-oz block medium firm tofu
1 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsps cooking oil
1 fresh chili of your choice, sliced (optional, for garnishing)
1 stalk spring onion, sliced or chopped (optional, for garnishing)

Sauce (mix in a small bowl)
2 tbsps dark soy sauce
2 tbsps honey
2 tsps rice vinegar
1 tbsp sambal oelek (or other hot chili sauce with garlic) 
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce

1. Cut the block of tofu into pieces with about 1/2" thickness. Arrange the tofu on top of a triple layered paper towel. Take another triple layer of towels and gently press down on top to absorb most of the water out of the tofu.
2. Set the frying pan over high heat and heat up just enough oil to coat the pan. Once hot, gently add in the tofu pieces. Try to make sure that the tofu do not adhere to one another. It may have to be done in two separate batches. Leave the tofu to fry for a minute or two. They are ready to be flipped over when the bottom starts browning and crusting. Similarly, leave the tofu to fry on the other side until nicely browned. Remove and let rest on a plate lined with a paper towel.
3. Leaving about a tsp of cooking oil in the pan, turn the heat down to medium. Once hot enough, add in the minced garlic and stir fry until fragrant. Pour in the sauce mixture and let simmer for about 30 seconds to thicken. 
4. Have the tofu pieces transferred to a serving plate. Pour the sauce mixture over the tofu. Garnish with fresh chili and spring onion. Serve hot. 

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