Fried tofu cubes served with dipping sauce is classic Japanese food, eaten at home, in restaurants, or in bars. It can be a snack, a part of a meal, or an appetizer. Imagine: crisp on the outside, smooth inside. Below is the recipe with a basic sauce, but this time I made it with a different sauce: garlic pickled in kombu and shoyu.
I slivered some the tsukemono garlic cloves, warmed them with some of the kombu/soy liquid plus a bit of dashi. It made a lovely topping for the tofu.
A note: the potato starch coating maintains its crunch quite well, even when it is in the liquid sauce!
Crisp Tofu Cubes in Tempura Sauce
serves 2 (or 4 as a side dish)
- 1 block of firm tofu (about 11 ounces)
- 6 Tablespoons potato starch
- vegetable oil for deep-frying
Cut the block of tofu in half horizontally so you have 2 thinner slices. Wrap the tofu in a clean cotton cloth, set it on a rack, cover it with a plate, and top it with a weight (a can of tomatoes). Let it drain for half an hour.
Cut each tofu slice into 4 pieces. Put the potato starch on a plate. Dredge the pieces of tofu in the potato starch and let them stand for a couple of minutes.
Heat 2″ of vegetable oil for deep-frying, to 340°F. Fry the tofu two squares at a time, until the exteriors are crisp and golden, about 3-4 minutes. Drain on paper towels on a rack.
- 1 cup tentsuyu (tempora dipping sauce)
- 1 akatogarashi, or other small dried red chile pepper, seeded and cut into thin rings
In a small saucepan, heat the tempura dipping sauce with the red chile pepper just to a boil over medium heat.
- 1 Tablespoon thin scallion rings, green part only
- 1/2 cup grated daikon or ginger
Place two to four squares in each individual bowl, cover them with a portion of the dipping sauce, and garnish them with sliced scallions. Serve small mounds of grated daikon or ginger on the side.
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