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Appetizers, Vegetarian

Deep-fried tofu with dipping sauce

Deep-fried tofu with dipping sauce
Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Tofu gets a bum rap. Some people dismiss it as health food for vegans and hippies. Others think that it's just a jiggly white brick with no flavor. That may be because people think of tofu only as the characterless ... Read more

Total time: 25 minutes | Serves 4 appetizer portions
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 5-7 ounces fried tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Vegetable oil

Step 1In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, vinegar and sugar, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the green onion, garlic, chile and black pepper, and stir to combine. Set aside. This makes about one-third cup dipping sauce.

Step 2Pan-fry the cubes of tofu in a wok or medium, heavy-bottom saucepan: Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the wok or pan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. Test the oil with one cube of tofu, adjusting the heat as necessary so the cube fries quickly but does not burn. Fry the cubes in a single layer, making sure the pieces do not touch, until crisp on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes total. Repeat until all of the tofu pieces are cooked; this may need to be done in 2 batches.

Step 3Drain the pieces on a paper towel-lined plate.

Step 4Serve the fried tofu hot with the dipping sauce on the side.

Note: If you can't find fried tofu, use the firmest fresh tofu you can get. Press the tofu down, leaving something heavy (such as a cutting board stacked with your heaviest cookbooks) on top to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and dust lightly with cornstarch before frying. Then cook the same as the fried tofu.


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