Fried Tofu With Pickled Chiles
package fried tofu (about ½ pound)
or so peanut or neutral oil
inch piece ginger, scraped and finely chopped
garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
scallions, white parts sliced at a sharp angle into 1½-inch-long slices (reserve greens for another use)
pickled chile paste
chicken stock or water
Salt to taste
Adapted from Land of Plenty by Fuchsia Dunlop
If you are using frozen fried tofu, be sure to defrost the tofu first. You can place it in the refrigerator, or leave it on the counter if you are cooking this the same day as you remove it from the freezer. Pickled chile paste is available in glass jars at most any Asian market with a solid selection of Chinese ingredients.
- Cut the fried tofu squares in half so the insides of each piece are exposed. If you’re using previously frozen fried tofu, squeeze each piece to remove excess water.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until nearly smoking. Add oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add ginger, garlic, scallions, and pickled chile paste and stir-fry for a minute or so, until fragrant and the oil is stained red. But don’t let them burn! Adjust the heat if need be.
- Add the tofu and the stock or water, and bring to a boil. Season with soy sauce, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Stir, turn the heat down to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the liquid has mostly evaporated. You will know it’s ready when so much liquid has evaporated that the oil sizzles. Serve hot or cold.
Scott Hocker is a writer, editor, recipe developer, cookbook author, and content and editorial consultant. He has worked in magazines, kitchens, newsletters, restaurants and a bunch of other environments he can’t remember right now. He has also been the editor in chief of both liquor.com and Tasting Table.