Fried tofu with pea shoot salad

I’m going to be honest and tell you that I did not want to cook anything tonight for dinner.

I woke up this morning with a stuffed up nose and throbbing headache. I forced myself to work today and when it came time for dinner, I didn’t know what to do. I felt guilty about the 1/2 package of tofu I knew was sitting in the fridge for the past few days, so decided to muster the energy and make use of it.

When I opened the refrigerator I discovered an unopened bag of pea shoots staring back at me, begging for release from its confinement.

So, I decided not think about how tired I felt or how yucky I looked. I put on my happy face and threw up a pot of rice to begin cooking. I also started a cast-iron pan with about an inch or so of vegetable oil in which to deep fry the tofu.

Fried tofu is something we order quite often while dining out. My favorite is when it’s fried then tossed with garlic, jalapenos, and plenty of salt. It’s crispy, salty, and spicy … very tasty.

I used firm tofu and sliced it into 1/4″ slices then patted dry on paper towel. I cracked an egg into a bowl and whisked it with a tablespoon of water. On a plate, I placed about 1/4 cup of flour to dredge the pieces of tofu.

While I waited for the pan to heat up, I sliced a jalapeno and green onion for garnish. The oil looked about ready and I dropped half of the green onion (white part) and a few pieces of japapeno into the oil to season it. I then dipped each piece of tofu into the egg mixture, then into the flour. I coated it generously with flour then shook lightly to remove any excess.

Carefully place tofu into the hot oil. Fry for several minutes on each side until it is golden brown. Remove from pan and place onto paper towel to drain.

Next, I moved on to the pea shoots. We find them readily available in our Asian market. As the name implies, they are the small shoots of a green pea plant, tender and crisp with a sweet pea flavor. I absolutely love them.

I rinsed and drained the pea shoots. Normally, we stir-fry the pea shoots but I didn’t want to mess up another pan. Instead, I tossed them with a drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil. I like this combo as a simple dressing. You could also add a bit of rice vinegar, minced garlic or ginger.

I placed the salad and a scoop of rice on a plate, then topped with the tofu. I sprinkled the tofu with the sliced jalapeno, green onion, and some salt. I stood there and looked at the final product and it instantly made me feel better. After a bit of photography, I took my first bite. The light, fresh pea shoot salad balanced the fried tofu, so it didn’t feel heavy. I missed not tossing the tofu with a bit of garlic, but it was good regardless.

You’ll find an instructive and fun video on frying tofu from the White On Rice Couple. Todd and Diane walk you through the steps and also show you how to make tofu fries and mojo tofu! They are definetly my latest ‘food blog crush’.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Manggy April 2, 2008, 9:23 pm

    Sorry to hear you’re feeling sick, Allen– I woulda thought with all the great produce you eat your immunity would be through the roof. I hope you feel better soon.

    Try the tofu with some tonkatsu sauce– yum. But of course, I like sweet flavors. I get teased a lot by one of my friends who thought it was icky.

    You’re certainly crushing a lot these days! I too have a food-one-night-stand every now and then :P

  • Allen April 2, 2008, 9:42 pm

    I blame my sickness on the police department. I had to go there yesterday to get fingerprinted in order to get an FBI background check. Sounds interesting, huh? I’m applying for Canadian residency and it’s one of the formalities.

    Anyway, the two women who worked there were coughing and sick. They had to touch me in order to do the fingerprinting … and I woke up today sick.

    I have tonkatsu in the fridge but didn’t tink about using it. I like my fried tofu without any sauce :-)

  • Peter G April 3, 2008, 12:14 am

    Hope you feel better Allen. I too love fried tofu. How simple it sounds to prepare. And thanks for the video link. Will go and take a look. Cheers!

  • cookinpanda April 3, 2008, 4:17 am

    Yum pea shoot salad. I usually just stir fry my pea shoots but this sounds like an interesting twist. Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Wandering Chopsticks April 3, 2008, 9:20 am

    Hi Allen,
    Thanks for your comment on my blog. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. I feel like I should start a petition or something. Food bloggers who don’t like people cutting and pasting their recipes. Or Food bloggers who hate people who don’t say thank you. Hehe.

    Sorry to hear you’re sick. :( Feel better.

  • Astra Libris April 3, 2008, 10:50 am

    Ah, it’s so lovely to finally be able to read your blog again! Schoolwork crowded aside my blog reading for a bit… :-( Coming back and seeing this beautiful dish, though, I think has taught me my lesson – Allen’s blog should always come before schoolwork! Seriously, I am always so inspired by the dishes you prepare.

    I am especially excited about your use of tofu here – I think you finally presented me with a possible way to get my guy to eat tofu! “Crispy, salty, and spicy” should win over anyone, no?

    and I do adore tofu… Your photos are so gorgeous… I’m amazed that you were able to fix such an elegant feast when you were under the weather! I hope you feel better soon!

  • farida April 3, 2008, 11:48 am

    Allen, hope you feel better soon! I am not a big fan of tofu, honestly, but looking at your picture makes me change my mind:) i have never tried fried tofu in my life and I know tofu is healthy, so maybe next time I am in the grocery store I should not ignore the tofu and buy a package to try your recipe:)

  • Allen April 3, 2008, 11:57 am

    Peter G: Thank you, I’m feeling much better today.

    Cookingpanda: Thank you!

    Wandering Chopsticks: Haha – if you start the petition, I’ll sign it :-)

    Astra Libris: You’re so sweet, but let’s face it, studying will get you your next job, not me :-) Glad to see you’re taking a breather from studying and hope you try the tofu. You can also throw in some ginger/garlic to the oil to further season it before frying.

    Farida: I must warn you that any health benefits from the tofu are likely erased by the deepfrying :-) However, when eaten in moderation and with other healthy things (like pea shoots), it’s probably not too bad for you.

    Thank you, everyone – I’m feeling much much better today!

  • Kevin April 3, 2008, 6:23 pm

    That looks tasty. I have been meaning to try doing more with tofu that doesn’t involve drowning it in some other flavour. Simply frying it and enjoying it with some soy or ponzu sounds pretty easy and tasty.

    Get better soon.

  • Ben April 3, 2008, 8:01 pm

    I really don’t like tofu that much. but this way looks just great. I think I need to start eating more of that weird stuff. Hehehe

  • Helen April 4, 2008, 2:54 am

    No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get along with tofu. No matter how much flavour I put into it, it still tastes bland. i think frying it must be the way forward!

  • Allen April 4, 2008, 4:53 pm

    Kevin: ponzu is a great idea!

    Ben: If you keep reading this site, you’ll find lots of ideas for ‘weird stuff’ :-)

    Helen: everything is better when deep-fried – the use of green onion, garlic, jalapenos with a bit of salt definetly help it to shine!

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