|Deep-fried tofu with a sweet and spicy sauce on a bed of shredded cucumber, garnished with plenty of ground peanuts|
Today, I am sharing a recipe (that my mum just taught me) for one of my favourite Malaysian childhood dishes - "Tauhu Goreng", which literally means Fried Tofu. It is most delicious when the tofu is served piping hot with a sweet and spicy sauce, and lots of ground peanuts. Try to make your own deep-fried tofu as the texture is much better than commercially prepared ones.
Tauhu Goreng (Deep-Fried Beancurd)
1 large packet (about 500g) firm tofu (I used Fortune brand Firm Tofu)
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup finely ground roasted peanuts
1 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
2 cups beansprouts, tailed and blanched in hot water
Gula Melaka (brown palm sugar) - or substitute with freshly squeezed lime/lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp dried tamarind pulp
1 tbsp thick caramel (thick dark soy) (adjust to your preference)
5-6 bird's eye chillies, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic
Salt and sugar, to taste
Make the sauce first. Take about 1/3 cup palm sugar, chop/grate it and melt it in a saucepan with about 2 tbsp water. Pass the sugar syrup through a sieve to remove impurities. Set aside.
Soak the tamarind in 1/3 cup hot water for 5 minutes and mash it up with your fingers until you get a concentrated brown liquid. Pass it through a sieve and discard any remaining pulp and seeds. Heat up in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and set aside.
Pound the chillies and garlic until fine. In a bowl, mix together the chillies and garlic with 1 tbsp thick soy caramel, 1/3 cup palm sugar syrup, 1/3 cup tamarind juice, and 2-3 tbsp hot water. Add salt and sugar to taste. You can adjust the amount of palm sugar, tamarind and hot water used until you get a nice balance of sweet and sour. If desired, add a splash of lime or lemon juice for a fresh-tasting flavour. Mix in about 3 tbsp of the ground peanuts into the sauce.
Drain the tofu and pat dry. Slice each tofu in half horizontally, or depending on the size of the tofu you're using, they should be approximately 2in x 2in x 1 in. Alternatively, you can also cut them in to 1 inch cubes. Heat up vegetable oil in a wok on high heat. Deep-fry the tofu, turning them to ensure they are browned evenly all over. When they turn golden brown, remove and transfer onto a plate.
Drain off any water that may have collected at the bottom of the plate of fried tofu. Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes. Place cucumber and beansprouts on a serving plate and arrange the tofu over the top. Pour the sauce over the tofu and sprinkle with the extra ground peanuts. Serve immediately.
Tip: For a thicker sauce, add more peanuts!
|Here's the earlier version that I made using traditional silken tofu|