Introduction: Chinese Chili Tofu
Ever since the Chinese Food Contest started I wanted to make my favorite Chinese food and that is Chili Tofu, which is a vegetarian or actually vegan version of Chili Chicken and people take my words its heavenly delicious :). So there is no story behind this instructable, however if you care to wonder what took me so long to make this recipe and subsequently a post. Was I too busy? I guess not as I published other posts. Was I looking for a recipe? Come on... I can make this right after I get up in morning, even after decades :). So what took me so long ?
Whatt Spring Onions?? Yes My Friend , spring onions. My recipe requires me to use spring onions. So?? It is scorching summer in India this year and in my city the temperature almost crossed 111F (44 degree Celsius). Fresh, green & leafy veggies was too much to ask in this season. I had already given up this weekend but to my surprise (and indeed a big one), I found little spring onions in the local farmer market. They were not as beautiful as they are in other seasons but just perfect for my recipe :).
You will know why spring onions were so important in my recipe as you read further, but before that some useful information.
Preparation Time: 10-15 mins
Cooking Time : 10-15 mins
Serving : About 4
Vegan: Totally Yes
Lets make some Chili Tofu...Yum....Yum...
Step 1: Ingredients
- 250 Grams Firm Plain (unflavored) Tofu. NOTE: If you want to try an Indian Fusion version, replace this with Paneer(Cottage Cheese)
- 4-5 tbsp cornflour
- 4-5 tbsp while flour
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- pinch of baking powder
- salt to taste
- 6 tbsp water
- Ginger Root about 1 inch
- 8-10 Garlic clove (if small) 4-5 (if large)
- 6-8 spring onions (mine were really small, see the picture) (Keep their greens separate for garnishing)
- 4-5 Green Chilies
- 1 Medium Size Green Bell Pepper
- 1 Medium Size Red Bell Pepper (OPTIONAL, replace with green)
- 1 Medium Size Yellow Bell Pepper (OPTIONAL, replace with green)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp oil
- Salt to taste
- MSG or Ajinomoto OPTIONAL (Some studies suggest that they are unhealthy, but I think eating occasionally is ok, take your call)
- Red Chili Sauce OPTIONAL (if you want to make it hot)
- Deep frying pan,
- Spatula with holes
- Kitchen Absorbent Paper
- A large bowl for batter
- A handy kitchen grater tool.
- A small bowl for cornflour mix.
Having yellow and red bell pepper will add natural color to our food, but if you don't have them, just use green ones. It is absolutely Ok to increase of decrease some ingredients in this recipe, believe me it will taste just fine. Just cook it with love :)
Lets jump into the kitchen :)
Step 2: Cutting & Chopping
- Grate ginger
- Chop garlic
- Chop spring onion greens.
- Cut onion whites into halves (they will split while cooking)
- Cut bell pepper into squares.
- Cut green chilies into 1inch pieces.
- I don't like to waste the whites.
- Whites are tender and tastes great.
- The strong aroma of spring onion whites is just perfect for this recipe.
Step 3: The Worthy Preparation
So I decided to cut tofu into diamond shaped pieces of about 1 inch. (Image 1). You can cut cubes or square too, it wont change the taste ;-), diamond shaped just looked cool to me. And now...
- Take the big bowl and mix all ingredients of the batter (Image 2).
- Mix it well to form a thick batter (Image 3), not too thick though.
- Add the tofu pieces and coat them well (Image 4)
- Heat oil in pan and put the coated tofu pieces one by one (Image 5), you may find that they will stick with each other while frying, separate them using spatula (Image 6).
- When they turn golden brown (Image 7), remove them on to absorbent paper (Image 8).
TIP: If you love garlic like I do, you can chop a few extra garlic cloves and add them in this batter, this will give a more superior aroma & taste to the fried tofu pieces.
Now keep the fried tofu aside. In a small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of cornflour with about 6 tbsp of water, make a thin paste (Image 9). Keep this aside.
Just one more step when we make the blissful union of all the ingredients :)
Step 4: The Blissful Cooking
- Add green chili, ginger, garlic , onions whites to the oil (Image 1)
- Sauté on high for about 2 minutes (Image 2). While you are sautéing, press the onions with spatula so that their layers are separated.
- Add cut bell peppers and optionally MSG (or ajinomoto) at this point, sauté for about 15-30 seconds.
- Now add the sugar, cornflour paste, soy sauce and salt. (Image 3). Since the frying pan is hot, it will take seconds for the water to dry.
- OPTIONAL : Add red chili sauce if you want to make it more hot & spicy.
- Add fried tofu pieces and mix really well, so that the cornflour and soy sauce make a coat on all the ingredients (Image 4).
- Garnish with chopped spring onions greens and serve hot.
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