Deep-fried silken tofu with black bean, chilli and coriander

Because tofu has no pronounced flavour of its own, it can take pungent and strong dressings, like this rich and spicy sauce.
Because tofu has no pronounced flavour of its own, it can take pungent and strong dressings, like this rich and spicy sauce. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Vegetarian

Deep-fried tofu in particular lends itself very well to the strong flavours of black bean and chilli. The keys to this recipe is having enough deep-frying oil in your wok so the tofu cubes can be fully submerged and having the oil at 180C before lowering in the tofu cubes.

Ingredients

1 x 300g packet silken tofu

vegetable oil for deep-frying

⅓ cup plain flour

Black bean and chilli sauce

¼ medium-sized red capsicum

1 tbsp vegetable oil

½ small red onion, finely sliced

1 tbsp julienned ginger

2 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 tsp salted black beans

1 tbsp shao hsing wine or dry sherry

2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp white sugar

2 tsp malt vinegar

¼ tsp sesame oil

1 large red chilli, sliced on the diagonal

⅓ cup water

handful coriander sprigs

Method

1. To make the black bean and chilli sauce, remove seeds and membranes from capsicum, cut into fine slices and set aside. Heat oil in a hot wok, add onion, ginger, garlic and black beans and stir-fry over high heat for 1 minute, stirring constantly to ensure black beans do not burn. Add wine or sherry and stir-fry for 20 seconds then add soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and sesame oil and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Toss in chilli and reserved capsicum and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Lastly pour in water and simmer for a further 30 seconds.

2. Gently remove tofu from packet and invert onto a plate. Carefully slice into 6 cubes by cutting tofu in half lengthways, then widthways into thirds, draining off any excess liquid.

3. Heat oil in a hot wok until the surface seems to shimmer slightly. Lightly coat tofu pieces in flour, and using a spatula carefully lower into hot oil – it is important to flour the tofu only when the oil is hot or it will become very moist and sticky. Deep-fry tofu for about 4 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper.

4. Arrange tofu in a shallow bowl and spoon over black bean and chilli sauce. Garnish with coriander and serve immediately.

If you like this recipe try my refreshing silken tofu with chilli, ginger and vegetables.