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.
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.