Sunday, 14 November 2010

Crispy popcorn tofu with green beans

I went to a fantastic spicy Szechuan restaurant this week where every dish came lavishly garnished with fresh and dried chillies and szechuan pepper - a really mind blowing meal!

I don't subscribe to the school of thought where hotter=better, but the chilli was so flavoursome and moreish that I (predictably) ate more than was sensible. Proof that although I am growing older, I am sadly not growing any wiser.

Serves 2:

~for the tofu:
200g cotton (not smooth) tofu
150ml vegetable stock with 2 tsp soya sauce added
3 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp salt (you can also optionally add 1 tsp ground black pepper, and 1 tsp szechuan pepper)
250ml vegetable oil (for frying)

~to serve:
½ cup sweet chilli sauce
300g trimmed green beans
1 spring onion, finely sliced
a small bunch of fresh coriander
50g toasted cashew nuts or peanuts
steamed Jasmine or basmati rice

1) Put the rice on to cook - it will always be fluffier if you give it a few minutes to sit quietly after cooking.  Gently squeeze all the moisture out of the tofu, then cut into 1" cubes.  Place the tofu in a shallow dish with the stock and allow it to steep for five minutes, then remove the tofu, shaking off any excess moisture.  Now mix the rice flour, corn flour and salt in a bowl, and toss the tofu pieces in the flour.

2) Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan then fry the tofu for about three minutes, until golden brown on all sides.  Drain on kitchen paper and repeat in batches until all the tofu has been cooked.

3) Steam the beans until barely cooked, they should still be a little bit crunchy.  Plate up the rice, then top with the beans and tofu and scatter over some toasted nuts and spring onion.  Finish by spooning over the sweet chilli sauce.

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