on deep fried tofu, part one of many

so i'm on this quest to figure out how to deep fry tofu properly (see this entry). i have a feeling this endeavor will have many parts, as my first attempt this past weekend was fun/exciting/messy as hell, but probably and most certainly not anatomically correct.

i picked up some silken tofu at the store. actually i picked up some silken tofu and the next one up, i think it was labeled "light firm", whatever that means. i bought it as backup, just in case the whole thing failed on me. it's still in the fridge.

i tried to be extremelly careful while taking the tofu out of the package, which i attempted to do so by inverting a plate on top of the open package then flipping the whole thing over. the tofu stuck in the package and wouldnt come out without a bit of goading. about 3/4 of it did come out eventually. this kind of put a damper on attempting to cut the block (if you could call it that) into cubes, so i just kind of cut it into shapes. i had trapezoids and bumpy rectangles and round-edged triangles of tofu. while this operation was going on, i had already heated up the wok and thrown in some peanut oil (i want to say about a cup-ish - i didn't measure - i put in what was left in the bottle), so that was ready waiting for me and not me for it.

my next phase was to roll the geometric blobs of tofu in flour. i discovered that i could only do one or two at a time, then put those in the wok and let them fry up while i did the next one or two. if you try to roll them all at once, the first bits of tofublob soak up all the flour that you painstakingly coated them with and you have to start over. a really small batch is key! i also experimented with both regular all-purpose flour and potato flour. the tofublobs coated in potato flour browned almost immediately on contact with the oil, so i had to haul them out quickly before they burned up on me. however, the texture of these was totally off; the inside tofu was completely undercooked, and i was unable to hold a piece between chopsticks without it falling to pieces. so, nix on the potato flour. the regular floured tofublobs took a while to brown, and in fact i probably should have left them in longer. i hauled each one out at around 4 minutes of cooking and drained on paper towels.

while the fried tofu were draining, i whiped up a quick cold soba side dish as an accompaniement. i adapted the dressing for the soba from rainwater. i didn't really measure anything, just kind of doused the following into a big bowl: soy, mirin, tamari, fish sauce, apple cider vinegar, red pepper flakes, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, minced ginger, minced garlic, green onions, sesame oil, s & p. mix together before adding cooked cold soba noodles (enough for one). added some of this to a plate with some fried tofu which i'd doused with a bit of soy and a drizzle of some of the soba dressing, parked my butt in front of the tv and The Living Daylights, and i couldnt have asked for a better saturday lunch. the tofu was exactly how it was supposed to be, crispy on the outside and totally melted on the inside.

what i'll do differently next time:

1) fry tofublobs a bit longer.
2) try spiking the dredging flour with something. powdered wasabi? red pepper flakes? panko? something to think about.
3) coat tofu with some kind of batter. what kind? who knows?

at any rate, Food + Bad James Bond movie = Clean Plate Club.

UPDATE: a quick google search shows me that most folks fry firm tofu, and not silken. something else to think about over my tea.


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