Fried tofu with chilli & soy

Fried tofu with chilli & soy

Tahu gejrot cirebon

By
From
Street Food Asia
Serves
4 a s part o f a shared meal
Photographer
Alan Benson

Whenever I travel, one of my joys is discovering dishes I’ve never tasted before. This is one. I find it by literally stumbling across a cart that’s parked on the road, under a cute red umbrella. The sign mentions ‘tahu’ or ‘tofu’ and that’s enough to hook me in; I love tofu. The lovely man cooking is using little mortars and pestles to make fresh batches of paste for his sauce, grinding a bit of palm sugar with some garlic, chilli, shallots and shrimp paste until smooth. He’s got a batch of sauce simmering and I need to know what’s in it, the aroma is so incredible. He shows me his tamarind, vinegar, kecap manis and palm sugar supplies and I work out that these are the flavours bubbling away and smelling so good. When he gets a customer he asks how many chillies they want (he gives me five!) then he grinds these up with the other paste ingredients. On go some tofu puffs and spoonfuls of the delicious sauce and that’s it. I eat, standing on the street with locals, and the experience is so simple but so amazing. This, to me, is what travel is all about – meeting people and eating their favourite food with them.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon Tamarind water
50ml kecap manis, (see glossary)
2 tablespoons liquid palm sugar (see glossary) or shaved palm sugar (jaggery)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
180g fried tofu puffs, cut into quarters

Spice paste

Quantity Ingredient
2-6 red bird’s eye chillies, (depending on how spicy you like it)
2 red asian shallots
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste

Method

  1. To make the spice paste, pound the chillies, red shallots, garlic and shrimp paste together into a fine paste using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add the spice paste to a small saucepan together with the tamarind water, kecap manis, palm sugar, salt, vinegar and 200 ml water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 5 minutes, until just slightly reduced and the flavours have melded together.
  3. Arrange the tofu quarters in a shallow serving bowl and pour over the sauce. Using the back of a spoon, gently press the tofu pieces down until all the sauce has been absorbed. To serve, scoop the chilli, garlic and shallot paste pieces in the sauce over the top of the tofu for colour.
Tags:
South-East Asian
Asian
Street Food
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