I am a huge fan of Penang, a Malaysian restaurant in Chinatown. I especially love their Satay Bean Curd appetizer, which features crispy fried tofu triangles stuffed with cucumber, bean sprouts and a peanut sauce. I like the idea of stuffing a sauce into tofu as opposed to dipping it into something—it’s kind of genius and looks really fancypants. So I decided to make a similar dish using this idea, but changed it up a bit, incorporating some fresh lemongrass and garlic with a touch of curry and a generous amount of peanut butter to create the rich and spicy filling, which complemented the crispiness of the deep-fried tofu perfectly.
LEMONGRASS AND GARLIC STUFFED TOFU
Yield 2-4 servings
- 1 TB toasted sesame oil
- 4-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 scallions, cut on the bias
- 1 lemongrass heart, minced
- 1/4 tsp curry powder
- 1/8-1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 3 TB chunky peanut butter
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 3 TB crushed peanuts
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- plenty of vegetable oil for frying
- 1 block tofu
- 1 1/2 tsps Ener-G egg replacer, whisked with 5 TB warm water
- 1/2-3/4 cup cornstarch
- Heat the sesame oil in a small pot over medium-low heat. Add in the garlic cloves and saute and stir for about a minute. Add in the scallions and saute for another minute. Add in the lemongrass, curry powder and red chili flakes and stir until blended and remove from the heat.
- While the mixture is still warm, add in the chunky peanut butter and gently stir until well-blended. Add in the soy sauce, crushed peanuts and cilantro and stir again. Set aside.
- Cut the tofu block in half and then cut each of those haves into right angle triangles. Cut a small 1/8-inch wide slit in the longest side of the triangle. Dab the moisture off of the tofu with some paper towels and set aside.
- In a medium-sized pot, heat the oil (enough to submerge the triangles in) over medium-high heat.
- After about 7 minutes, test the oil’s readiness by inserting a wooden spoon into the pot—if bubbles immediately form around the spoon, the oil is ready.
- Dip the tofu triangles into the Ener-G mixture, and then coat it in some of the cornstarch, making sure all sides are covered and tapping off any excess. Place the triangles, two at a time, into the oil and fry until golden, about 4 minutes. Carefully remove from the pot and place on paper towels to drain.
- Once the triangles have cooled enough to handle, carefully break open the recess and spoon an overflowing amount of the lemongrass-garlic mixture into it. Serve immediately.