Next to molecular cooking, deep-frying is my favorite thing to do in the kitchen. I love the process of slathering batter over a piece of tofu or something a little more exotic, dunking it into hot oil, then seeing something beautifully crispy, decadent and golden emerge from it. To deep-fry simply and properly, you only need the following:
- A small 1 to 2-quart stainless steel saucepan (don’t use non-stick)
- Some good quality canola oil (you can reuse it a few times, just allow the used oil to cool completely—then strain and store in a container in the refrigerator until it’s ready to use again)
- Ener-G: this product is gold when it comes to frying. It allows the oil to repel perfectly off the food, leaving you with a non-greasy and crispy coating.
- Heat-resistant tongs or chopsticks
- Paper towels, for draining
for the horseradish cream
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/4 tsp coconut or apple cider vinegar
1/2 TB prepared horseradish, or more, to taste
1/2 tsp dried mustard, or 1 tsp prepared mustard
for the couscous
1-2 TB Earth Balance
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup couscous
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 TB raw pine nuts
for the tofu
1 cup raw pistachios, coarsely crushed in a food processor
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp Ener-G, whisked with 5 TB water
1 block firm tofu, sliced into four slabs, then sliced diagonally to create 8 right-angled triangles (no need to press it)
plenty of oil, for frying
Whisk all of the horseradish cream ingredients together. Set aside or place in the refrigerator to chill while you make the rest of the dish.
Heat the Earth Balance and broth in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Add in the couscous and salt and stir to combine. Cover and remove from the heat. Allow to sit without removing the lid while you make the tofu.
Combine the pistachios and cornstarch together in a wide and shallow bowl. In another wide and shallow bowl, whisk together the water and Ener-G.
Place plenty of oil into a small saucepan (I use a small, 1 quart pan, filled about 3/4 full of canola oil.) Heat over medium-high heat. After about 6 minutes, throw a pinch of the pistachio-cornstarch batter into the oil. If it bubbles immediately, you are ready to fry.
Working one or two triangles at a time, dip the tofu into the Ener-G/water mixture, then place it into the pistachio-cornstarch mixture. Press the coating all over the tofu, and tap off any extra. Place into the oil and fry for about 3 minutes. Using heat-resistant tongs, make sure the tofu doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, and use the tongs to turn the tofu around int he oil to ensure all sides fry evenly.
Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle immediately with a little salt. Repeat until all 8 triangles are fried.
Return to the couscous. Stir in the parsley. Place the pine nuts in a dry pan, and allow to toast over medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally and watching it closely to prevent burning. Add to the couscous and stir well.
To serve, place the couscous on the bottom of a plate. Stack the tofu on top, and spoon some of the horseradish cream onto the side. Serve immediately.