Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spicy Lemongrass Tofu

Lately, I've been soy crazy. Veggie burgers, edamame, sweetened homemade soy milk from the Asian supermarket... This vibrantly colored, lemongrass tofu has made multiple appearances for dinner recently. It has been in rotation since my sister Tam introduced it to me years ago, however, I try not to make it too often, since I have a tendency to overdose on my favorite foods. Traditionally, I've seen this Vietnamese recipe made with chicken which is quite tasty too.

Spicy Lemongrass Tofu
adapted from Mai Pham, Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table, Harper Collins, 2001

12-16 ounces extra-firm tofu
2 lemongrass stalks, outer layers peeled, bottom white part thinly sliced and finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1-2 teaspoons Thai bird chiles, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried chile flakes
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
4 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup loosely packed Asian basil leaves, sliced into thin strips

Drain tofu and pat dry. Cut into cubes.

Combine the lemongrass, fish sauce, chiles, chile flakes, turmeric, and sugar in a bowl. Add tofu and turn to coat them evenly. Marinate for 30 minutes, or overnight.

Heat oil in 12-inch, nonstick skillet over moderately high heat. Add onion and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and cook until onions are soft, about 3 minutes.

Adjust heat to moderate. Add marinated tofu and, using chopsticks or wooden spoon, turn to cook evenly, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add half of the chopped peanuts and all of the Asian basil leaves.

Remove from heat. Garnish with remaining peanuts and serve immediately with steamed rice.

Yield: 4 servings

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