Deep Fried Tofu in Black Bean Sauce
1 block firm or extra firm tofu
1/4 to 1/3 cup preserved black beans
1/4 cup soya sauce
1 cup water
2 med to large size garlic cloves
vegetable or canola oil
Firm and extra firm tofu works best since you'll be cutting it into small triangles. Anything softer is difficult to slice and work with in this form but it can be done with medium if it's all you can find. Just be more gentle when pressing it to remove the excess water.
Slice open the package, drain, and remove the block of tofu. It will still be soaked with water and you'll need to apply pressure to squeeze out the excess. There are specially designed tofu presses on the commercial market that range from mini bench vises to plastic spring loaded tubs, but most people just wrap it in a towel and place a towel wrapped brick or book on top of it. The longer you leave it, the more it will drain. Overnight in the fridge is ideal if you have the time and memory - I possess neither. Just do the best with what you can.
I wrap my block of tofu in a cotton tea towel and place it between two plastic cutting boards. I either stack a couple books on it, or leave it in the sink and place a large heavy pot on top. The sink is just for balancing the pot.
Remove the weights and towel once you're happy with the amount of moisture removed.
Cut the block horizontally in half...
..then turn the sides up vertically and slice them down the middle.
Lay the slices flat and cut them corner to corner to make four triangles each (16 total).
Set the temperature on the deep fryer to 350 degrees and wait for the green light.
Place the triangles in the basket and lower into the fryer. Shake the basket vigorously to ensure the tofu doesn't stick to the bottom. Otherwise it will tear when you try to peel it out. Put the lid on, and keep shaking the basket every 30 seconds. How long or crisp you prefer to cook your tofu is totally up to you. I've done from 90 seconds to 7 minutes and everywhere in between. Keep in mind that the tofu will soak and soften a bit when you cook it in the black bean sauce.
|Keep things movin'|
|2 minutes: 30 seconds|
|4 minutes: 30 seconds|
Remove the basket from the oil and let drip for a few seconds, then dump it onto a plate or bowl lined with paper towel to soak up excess oil.
Black Bean Sauce
The main ingredient is the preserved black beans, not to be confused with the Mexican whole black beans. The fermented beans come dry in a cellophane pack, and are usually only found in Asian food markets and stores. The prices range from 99 cents to just under a buck and a package goes a long way.
Some large grocery chains may carry them. I haven't seen them here in northern Ontario, but I have seen the prepared Black Bean Sauce in jars if that's all you can get. I haven't tried the stuff as of yet but hear it's a decent alternative. I'll do kitchen trials in the future.
You can also order them online through Amazon.
I've also gone to my local Asian restaurants and asked them to order them for me, and they've been very accommodating.
Like my mom, my hand is the measuring instrument and just a palm full will do. If you choose to use measuring spoons and cups, 1/4 to 1/3 cup ranging on your tastes.
Pour the beans in a bowl, and rinse and drain them under cold water. Then soak them for 5 minutes in just enough water to cover them.
Make a fist, and gently mash them under your knuckles til they're somewhat pasty.
Add a cup of water, 1/4 cup of soya sauce, stir and set aside.
Heat up oil in a skillet and saute chopped garlic for 30 seconds then add the black bean sauce. Cover and let simmer for 2 minutes. Add tofu and stir, then reduce heat to low and leave covered for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir fry your vegetables of choice in a separate pan with oil and preferred seasoning. When done, you can add them to the tofu, serve them on a platter with the tofu on top, or serve it all together on a bed of rice. For this recipe, I charred broccoli spears in a dry non-stick pan before adding them to the mix.
Tofurkey for Two
1lb block extra firm tofu
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp dry dill
3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
Shallow glass or metal baking pan.
You can substitute the rosemary, sage, thyme and marjoram with a 1 tbsp of a turkey rub (we use Epicure).
Press tofu ahead of time to drain excess water:
Mix the ingredients in a bowl and let stand while doing the rest of the prep work.
Slice the tofu horizontally into 4 even slabs:
Pour enough of the mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Lay the slabs side by side and pour the remainder of the mixture over them. Let them marinate overnight or for a few hours. There is no hard and fast rule here - whatever your time permits. The longer it sits, the better the flavor:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the pan on the center rack. Bake for one hour, turning the slices over after thirty minutes.
Remove slices and brown in a frying pan before serving:
Serve with your favorite stuffing, potatos, gravy and side dish (wine). And don't forget the cranberries!!