Thank you to the wonderfully masterful “Chef BeatSurrender” for the invite to this culinary explosion. I’m very excited to share what I’ve discovered through much trial and error in the World of Food. For purposes of introductory posts, I will keep it simple and share my slightly modified take on this tasty Japanese classic.
6 oz extra firm tofu (1/2 store bought brick)
1/2 c. wheat flour (the traditional is corn starch, use this if you like)
1-2 cups of vegetable oil
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar, if budgeted)
1 clove garlic, minced or mashed
1/4 ts garlic salt
2 tbs brown sugar
1/4 ts vegetable oil (3 drops or so)
1/2 cup Toasted Coconut
1/8 Green Onion, Chopped
Keep the tofu COLD until you’re ready. Feel free to read ahead if you must
Prepare the sauce first, as the tofu is meant to be served piping hot. Take all of your sauce ingredients, mix them up a bit with a fork, and throw them in a blender or food processor. The sauce will be thin, but the few drops of oil help blend everything together nicely. You can mix this by hand if you like, but omit the oil, and expect a very thin sauce.
Get a solid, deep frying pan, and fill it up to about 1/2 inch with vegetable oil, and get it nice and hot. The basic frying rule applies here: If you throw a drop of water in the oil and it spats at you like crazy and gets pissed, you’re ready.
Drain the tofu very well. Wrapping it in a clean, lint free cloth and putting a slight amount of weight (dinner plate?) on top helps to speed up this process. Cut the brick into sushi bite size pieces, making sure that they are no deeper than twice the depth of the oil. I usually opt for a nice little 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch by 1 inch rectangle or so. You should get about 12-16 out of your half brick.
Coat the pieces lightly with the flour by dabbing them on all four sides. Shake them off a bit so there are no clumps, and get excited already! This is going to be tasty! Plop them lovingly in the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Keeping the oil hot is key! After 2.5 minutes, flip them over with chopsticks, or something else very gentle so as not to puncture them. Another 2.5 minutes, and they’re done. Let them drain a bit on a paper towel or something of the sort.
Drizzle a generous amount of the sauce on a serving plate, and arrange the beautiful golden squares however you like. Drizzle a small amount of sauce on top if you like (I don’t), and garnish with the toasted coconut and chopped green onions if you chose to include them.
I make these for people who say they “don’t like tofu” all the time, then go into a rant about how pretty much nobody can say they “don’t like tofu”, until they’ve tried it at least 10 different way. I usually get looks that imply “I hate you, you elitist” or something of the such. However, they still eat the agedashi, and love it.