The real gem of this dish is the tofu. I recently discovered the method of dry frying tofu, which is illustrated below. By pressing the tofu under something heavy, you draw out all of the moisture. A quick fry until golden brown in a dry, hot pan crisps up the tofu without the need for oil or breading. A nice long soak in some marinade allows the tofu to suck up all of the flavors of the marinade while maintaining a delicious, meaty texture. Then, simply add to a stir fry as usual.
The spicy flavors of the marinade below marry well with the tofu and are sopped up by the pho noodles to create a delicious, mouth-tingling sauce. The ginger is very pronounced without being overwhelming. If you are looking for a healthy, filling, flavorful and fast dinner, I highly suggest you give this a try.
Dry Fried Spicy Tofu Stir Fry
Dry Fried Spicy Tofu:
1 14 oz. block firm or extra firm tofu
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbs. clam juice
1 heaping tbs. sriracha
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 tbs. thinly sliced lemongrass
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 lemon, juiced
Cut tofu in 1/2″ slices and then cut diagonally to form triangles.
Place a clean kitchen towel on the counter. Lay a paper towel or two on top of it. Place the tofu in a single layer on the paper towel. Top with another paper towel and another kitchen towel. Place cast iron pan, heavy cutting board, or something flat weighed down with canned goods or bricks. Let sit for about an hour until very dry.
Heat a dry, well-seasoned cast iron pan over medium-high heat. If you don’t have cast iron, use a wok, if possible. Don’t use any oil in the pan – the point of this step is to allow all of the moisture in the tofu to evaporate so it can sop up all of the delicious flavors of the marinade later.
Add tofu to the hot pan and cook 4-6 minutes per side until golden brown, working in batches if necessary.
Meanwhile, whisk together marinade ingredients.
Add tofu to marinade. Marinate at least half an hour – the longer the better, up to overnight.
Add to stir fry (see below).
Tofu, with marinade (see above)
1 package bahn pho noodles, cooked according to package instructions and drained
1 tbs. canola oil
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen peas
1 jalapeño, very thinly sliced
1/2 onion, very thinly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 scallion/green onion, green parts only
Heat olive oil in a large wok over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes, tossing frequently. Add corn and peas and cook until defrosted and any water that leaches out is evaporated, another 4-6 minutes, tossing frequently. Add jalapeño and onion and cook until the jalapeño is tender, about 2-3 minutes, tossing frequently. Add tofu with marinade, noodles, and garlic. Sprinkle corn starch over the wok. Toss. Cook until tofu and noodles are heated through and ingredients are well combined, about 3-4 minutes.
Serve immediately topped with scallion greens.