Spicy Sticky Fried Tofu

bite2

I found this dish through Maangchi, a Korean food YouTuber, and knew I had to try and make it. This recipe is my take on her’s, however I added a little vinegar for acidity and rice syrup for a sticky sweet finish that makes this tofu so addicting.

Perfect served on its own for a quick snack, or with steamed vegetables and rice as a light meal, this recipe is (somewhat) healthy and very satisfying. I usually make it as a meatless meal during the week.

The key is to fry the tofu until it creates a skin that is dry and crispy. Try to not flip it until it is ready – all you need to do is set it down and let it go. If you have a little time you can further dry the tofu out in advance by taking the block out of its packaging, wrapping it in a paper towel, and pressing it down with a weight (I like putting cans on top of a plate) for 20 minutes.

ingredients

Spicy Sticky Fried Tofu

Makes 2 servings

Prep time: 5 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 tbs gochujang, Korean red pepper paste
  • 2 tbs sake
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs brown rice syrup, easily found at the Korean grocery store, or honey
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds for garnish, I used a mix of black and white

Step 1: Drain and pat the tofu dry with a paper towel. Cut into 1 cm thick blocks.

Step 2: Heat frying pan on medium high. Add frying oil. When oil is hot (you can test by sprinkling water on the pan – it’s ready when the water sizzles immediately upon contact) add tofu in single layer and shake pan to distribute the cooking oil under the tofu.

Step 3: Cook the tofu for about 10 minutes. Try not to flip them until they start to develop a crispy skin. Check the tofu on the sides and middle of the pan and make sure all pieces are cooking evenly. Reduce heat if needed if tofu is starting to burn.

When all pieces are evenly toasted and golden brown on one side, flip them and cook the other side.

Step 4: While the tofu is cooking, make the sauce. Start with the gochujang and gradually thin it out with the sake. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice syrup, and vinegar.

Step 5: When both sides of the tofu are crispy and golden brown, add the sauce. Reduce the sauce for a couple minutes while coating it on the tofu. When the sauce is thick and syrupy, everything is ready.

Step 6: Serve warm, sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped green onion.

glaze2

final4

Moroccan influenced quinoa cakes

final

Based on a request from one of my vegetarian friends, I wanted to try making something fun she could eat. Her one request was that it involved quinoa as it “is one of the only non-animal sources of B12 for a vegetarian.”

Since quinoa rotates through her meals at least once a week, I was determined to think of something cool for it. I’ve also found that most quinoa recipes come in the form of salads, or simply warm but loose as a grain, so I played with what shape it could make.

My thought on vegetarian food is that if there isn’t meat to give that savory sense of taste, I’d use every flavor and texture combination possible for this dish. I wanted something satisfying. What’s my definition of satisfying?

It’s something that touches all of the bases. Is it salty? Sweet? What about crunchy?

I gave myself requirements.

There had to be a variety of textures. I wanted there to be a substantial chew, something hearty. There had to be crispiness and creaminess. There had to be a punch of flavor- which is why I went the Moroccan route. It’s spicy and sweet. There was that umami element there that would replace the savory aspect of meat.

So Julia, this is for you girl!

 

Ingredients:

Cakes

  • 1 ½ c. quinoa, cooked
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs. flour
  • 2 tbs. raisins
  • 1 tbs chopped mint
  • ¾ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch allspice
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch cloves
  • Pinch ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Kale

  • 2 cups kale, stalks removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Egg topping

  • Enough water to generously fill pan
  • 1 tbs. white vinegar
  • However many eggs you want
  • Dollop of sour cream optional for topping.

*Spices are relatively optional based on availability- however cumin and cinnamon MUST be included.

 

mix

Mix all the ingredients.

 

mold

Form palm sized disks, about three tablespoons a handful. Make solid pressing movements, the binding can be a bit loose. Worst case, press back together when cooking.

 

fry

Pour a generous amount of oil in pan, enough to coat the bottom. Drop cakes in pan, press slightly with spatula to create solid flat bottom. Cook till golden on both sides. Remove to paper towel lined plate. Set aside.

 

kale

Drop kale and garlic in remaining oil. Cook till tender, but not soggy. Season to taste.

 

egg

Pour water and vinegar in saucepan. Make sure there is enough water that the egg when dropped does not come close to the bottom. Gently drop egg in water, and with a big spoon, nudge and hold the egg in the water to prevent it from touching the bottom of the pan. Cook two minutes. Remove with slotted spoon.

 

plate

I decided to go artsy with my plating. You do not have to use a cookie cutter to mold the kale- go ahead and just spoon in on the plate. But if you want to be like me: place a 3 inch cookie cutter in the center of the plate. Press the kale into the mold, pushing to make sure the shape stays. When full, use a spoon to push the edges of the kale down while you remove the cookie cutter from the plate. This prevents the greens from moving too much.

 

stack

Start stacking. Place the quinoa cake on top of the kale. Then lay the egg on top. I wanted more creaminess, so I put a dollop of sour cream on after. Then top with whatever garnish you like and slit the egg’s side to release the creamy yolk. Or just dig in!

Fun note, if there is anyone that cannot eat eggs, you can omit the poached egg, and replace the egg in the cake with three tablespoons ground flax seed with a little water.

Let me know how yours turns out!