Korean Style Fried Tofu with Chili Garlic Soy Sauce
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Korean Style Fried Tofu with Chili Garlic Soy Sauce

The best way to get a meateater who's never tried tofu to hate it is to serve it as a meat substitute.

Because there is no way a brick of soybean curd is ever going to take the place of a juicy steak, or a meaty pork chop, or even a piece of chicken breast. Well, maybe a chicken breast... specially if it's the boneless, skinless kind...

But anyways, you don't hate tofu. What you hate is tofu that's served as meat. What you hate is tofu fashioned into *burger* patties. What you hate is when people tell you to just sprinkle some Bacos on tofu and it'll taste just like bacon.

You like tofu. You know why? Because firstly, tofu tastes like tofu - mildly nutty and yes, wildly adaptable, but not as a substitute for meat. And when you prepare tofu to complement its flavor rather than mask it, you don't have the undesired effect of finding out that it really doesn't taste just like whatever you sprinkled on it. Secondly, because it is such a simple and elegant food, it takes well to simple, easy, and elegant preparations. :)

Shinae

Ingredients

  1. For the tofu:
  2. 1 (One) pound package firm tofu
  3. salt for seasoning
  4. 2 Tablespoons neutral flavored oil for frying
  5. For the soy sauce:
  6. 1/4 cup soy sauce
  7. 1.5-2 Tablespoons sugar
  8. 1.5-2 Tablespoons vinegar
  9. 1 clove garlic, crushed
  10. sliced fresh chilies to taste (jalapenos, serranos, or Thai chilies are good for this dish)
  11. 1 Tablespoon sliced or chopped bulb onion
  12. to taste crushed red chili flakes
  13. 1 green onion, chopped for garnish
  14. optional: toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Steps

  1. Slice the tofu into roughly 1/2" thick slices widthwise. Pat dry with a paper or cloth towel on both sides and season lightly with salt.

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  2. While the tofu is air-drying a bit, make the sauce by combining all sauce ingredients and stirring until all the sugar is dissolved. Start at the low end of the measurements and adjust upward if needed. Some folks like things sweeter and/or tangier than others.

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  3. In a non-stick or well seasoned fry pan, heat the oil to medium high, and fry the tofu, about 3 minutes per side, until it's light golden brown. If you like a slightly thicker, browner crust, turn the heat down to medium and go 5 to 7 minutes per side.

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  4. Plate the tofu, spoon the sauce over it, sprinkle some chopped green onions on top, and enjoy. :)

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