Dipping Sauce (use commercial sweet chili sauce or sambal olek if desired)
fresh red chili, chopped
cloves garlic, minced
white or rice vinegar
In This Recipe
Prepare Tofu: An hour before, or overnight: Remove tofu from package and place between two dinner plates. Weight the plates with a book or skillet to press excess water from the tofu.
Sauce: Chop the peanuts and reserve. Mix all remaining sauce ingredients in a small pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until slighly reduced and set aside to cool.
Pat the tofu dry. Cut the tofu into 8 triangles. Using a small spoon or grapefruit knife, make a 1/2” hollow in the longest side and reserve the toru crumbles. Leave the triangles exposed to air to dry the surface while prepping the vegetable ingredients, in front of a fan if possible.
Tofu Filling: Place the carrot, shallot, and garlic cloves in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped but still distinct. Add the sugar and pepper and pulse to combine. Add a combination of finely shredded cabbage kale, green onion and/or chives to make a total of 1.5 cups of vegetables. Keep the green vegetable pieces fairly short and reserve a few teaspoons of chive or green onion, if using.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan and add vegetable mixture. Sautee until the greens have wilted and the mixture begins to clump, then add reserved tofu bits, a dash of aminos and salt to taste. Be aggressive with the seasoning- the tofu itself is band. Add cornstarch, up to 3 teaspoons, until the mixture begins to stick together. The mixture needs to adhere to itself and the tofu enough to dip in batter
Fill the hollow of each triangle and mound a strip of filling along the longest side of the triangles. Pat the log of filing down so that it adheres. Have batter ingredients at the ready.
Wipe out the frying pan and add oil up to 1/4” deep. Heat over medium-high heat while preparing the batter.
Batter: Mix the dry ingredients with the garlic and sesame seeds/green onion/chives if using. Crack and egg into the mix and stir the egg to break up the yolk. Add up to 6 tablespoons of water a few at a time until the batter is homogenous and just thin enough to dip the tofu in.
When the oil is shimmering, dip the tofu in the batter and immediately place in the oil. Fry all sides until golden. I prefer to fry in this order to keep the filling attached: broad side, filling side, then remaining sides. Set cooked puffs on a paper towel-lined plate to blot, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve with dipping sauce.