Monday, October 10, 2011

Tofu Pockets

I love tofu. There are days when I crave it. Of course, I buy them fresh from the local artisan tofu maker in town and I get fresh, steaming blocks of tofu. The problem with tofu is that a block of tofu is a LOT of tofu. I bought 2 blocks of tofu, thinking I needed two to make a dish of Mapo Tofu to bring to a potluck dinner. Turns out, I only needed one. So, what can I do with my extra tofu? Make Crispy Fried Tofu Pockets!

I modified this dish from a Chinese recipe that uses minced meat to stuff square tofu blocks and steamed. I make mine by crispy-frying it and then covering it with a savory sauce. First thing you need to do is to drain that block of tofu. Now cut it carefully into little blocks, say 2 inch by 2 inch pieces. make sure you have firm tofu, the soft ones will crumble on you. Then with a teaspoon, carefully dig out the center of the tofu square. Make sure you don't puncture the bottom.

Do this with all the tofu blocks. Save those tofu discards for later. They make for good tofu crumble to add to stews (as a thickener) or minced meat stir-fry (as an extender).

Now we need to season the minced meat. You'll need about a cup of minced pork. Make sure it has some fat in it, it'll add to the flavor. Add about a teaspoon of each:

> Light soy sauce
> Oyster sauce
> Rice wine or sherry
> minced garlic
> grated onion
> grated carrot

Also add 1 egg (to make everything combine together), 2 tablespoon of cornstarch plus a dash of salt and pepper. Mix everything well in a bowl and use about two teaspoons of meat to stuff the hollow centers of the blocks.

Now heat enough oil to deep-fry these stuff pockets. When the oil gets hot, lower the pockets into the oil with the stuffed side facing down on the pan. This is to help cooked the minced meat stuffing. Then after about 5-7 minutes, or when that side turns golden brown, turn it over to cook the other side.

When everything is golden brown all over, drain the tofu pockets on paper towels. Let them sit for a minute or two. These will be too hot to serve. Which gives you enough time to make your garlic-soy sauce dip.

In a little bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Add 1/2 teaspoon minced raw garlic. Stir to combine. Now you can use this dip for your tofu pockets or as a sauce that you can pour over the entire dish.