Sadly, many people believe tofu is boring. Perhaps recipes like this one are secret, locked away from view unless you have the password or know the secret phrase to say. An easy dish to make, the tofu is marinated in tamarind, kaffir leaf and lemongrass with sweet soy sauce for half an hour, and then sauteed until it forms a crust on the outside. The marinade is reduced to a sticky sauce which coats the seared tofu.
Sticky Kaffir and Tamarind Tofu
0.25 – 0.5 tspn red chilli paste, or to taste
2 kaffir lime leaves, sliced into very thin strips
small piece of lemongrass bulb, chopped very finely
2 tspn tamarind concentrate
2.5 Tblspn sweet dark soy sauce, e.g. Kepak Manis
250g firm tofu, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
2 – 3 Tblspn peanut or vegetable oil, or as needed
reserved shredded kaffir lime leaf
a few slices of red chilli
Set aside a little of the shredded lime leaf for garnish.
Mix the chilli paste, tamarind and sweet soy sauce in a bowl. Add the lemon grass and the kaffir lime leaves. Mix well. If the sauce is a little thick, add a little of the oil and mix again.
Place the tofu cubes into the marinade, and gently mix until the tofu slices are coated in the marinade. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.
Remove the tofu pieces from the marinade, and reserve the tofu and the marinade separately.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the tofu pieces and cook them until there is a crust on the top and bottom. Beware as you add the tofu pieces to the pan as it could sizzle and spit. Add them cube by cube using a pair of tongs. You may have to cook them in batches.
Once the tofu develops a nice crust on each side, remove them to a plate lined with kitchen paper towel, and pour the oil from the pan.
Now add the marinade to the same pan, and return the tofu to the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring gently until the sauce is reduced and coats the tofu.
Place on a serving platter and garnish with sliced chilli and shredded kaffir lime leaves. Serve immediately.
recipe notes and alternatives
If you have your own Sweet Chilli Sauce, try using this and sub the sweet soy sauce for tamari or light soy sauce.