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braised tofu


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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total: 45 minutes

Servings: 3


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Step 1

Slice the tofu in half vertically. Gently press down on each slab with a towel to remove some water. Flip each slab around and slice crosswise into squares ⅓” to ½” (1 cm) thick. Arrange tofu squares on a cutting board. Cover with a thin dish towel or a few paper towels. Cover with a cookbook to press. Meanwhile, slice the aromatics.

Step 2

Remove the towel from the tofu. If the tofu appears still wet, gently dab down on the squares with a dry towel. Sprinkle the top side of each tofu square with a bit of salt to season.

Step 3

Heat a 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then add the oil and heat for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, line the cutting board from step 1 with a few paper towels.

Step 4

Pile the tofu in a slotted spoon or spider tool. Carefully add the tofu to the hot oil, arranging it in a single layer. Move the tofu around in the oil to evenly coat and cook on one side for 5 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. Use a thin spatula to flip and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the bottom is also golden brown.

Step 5

While the tofu cooks, combine the braising liquid ingredients together in a jar; seal and shake it up; or add to a bowl and whisk together.

Step 6

When the tofu is golden brown and crisp on both sides, transfer the squares to the towel-lined board to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt.

Step 7

Return the frying pan to the stove and wipe out excess oil. Add the 1 tablespoon chile oil or oil from chile crisp (or regular oil) and heat over medium-high. Once hot, add the scallion whites/greens, garlic, and ginger, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing frequently, until fragrant. Add the vegetables and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes, shaking the pan and stir-frying as you go.

Step 8

Pour in the braising liquid. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened a bit.

Step 9

Meanwhile, thinly slice the reserved scallion greens on a hard bias. Stir the cornstarch into the water and whisk well. After the 5 minutes, add the cornstarch slurry into the pan and whisk until it thickens a bit but not too much, 45 to 60 seconds.

Step 10

Add the fried tofu into the sauce and use a silicone spatula to coat the tofu in the sauce. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened into a sauce that sticks to the tofu. Take off the heat and cool for a few minutes.

Step 11

Serve tofu over rice. Drizzle lightly with toasted sesame oil and garnish with sesame seeds and scallion greens.