Tofu brings a sense of déjà vu, taking me back to my childhood days, when my family and I resided in Vanuatu. There was a Chinese restaurant that we frequently visited, called Harbour View. The owner knew us pretty well, since we were one of her very few vegetarian customers. Whenever we visited, one particular dish was always a must-have: Deep-fried tofu in black mushroom sauce. The chefs would generously serve big succulent pieces of tofu which had a very delicate crispy outer skin. What was best was how well the tofu would be marinated – the juices so perfectly soaked that it was an explosion of sorts as you took a bite.
So. So. Good.
On Friday as I cruised along the grocery store to pick up essentials for the weekend, I saw Tofu! Mentally adding it to my must cook for the weekend, I picked it up. I have never figured out how Harbour View made that dense and flavourful mushroom broth. And not wanting to risk spoiling the dish with experimentation, I decided to go for a soy-honey marinade. It is one of those combinations that you simply cannot go wrong with.
Though not a copy cat recipe, it was delicious and is surely one that I will be making again and again.
- Firm tofu – 1 block, cut into squares, wrapped in tissue to absorb excess water
- Light soy sauce – 1 tbsp
- Honey – 1/2 tbsp
- Black pepper powder – 1 tsp, freshly crushed
- Garlic – 1 clove, crushed
- Cilantro – 1/2 cup, freshly chopped
- Oil – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
- Mix soy sauce, honey, pepper powder and garlic in a bowl
- Heat 2 tbsp oil and pan-fry the tofu till the outer skin is brown and crackling
- In a separate pan, heat 1/2 tbsp oil and add the sauce mix
- Let the sauce slightly bubble and thicken to desired consistency
- Add in the tofu and gently move it around for the sauce to coat it on all sides
- Allow to simmer for a minute and switch off the gas
- Sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro
Leftovers taste equally delicious the next day, if not better. Probably because the sauce gets well-soaked overnight.