Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Spicy Sesame Zoodles with Crispy Tofu

My life truly revolves around food.

Not only do I work in the food industry,  in my spare time I also blog about food, I cook (and bake) as a hobby, I photograph food when I eat out and I even like to spend my evenings sitting watching food documentaries and television shows. Don't worry, I watch other things too, but foodie shows are pretty awesome I must say!


A couple of years ago, my friend got me hooked on a Chinese series by the name 'A Bite of China' which explores the history and culture of food in various different locations within China. Having grown up in Australia, the show really highlighted how little exposure I had to 'real' Chinese food, with each episode showcasing the very unique range of cuisines from the bigger cities to more remote communities within China and the many stories behind the dishes shown.

Whilst we've finished both seasons of the show, it has sparked interest in food documentaries and there's certainly no shortage of similar productions, our latest being a documentary solely on tofu. And being one of my favourite foods, I was most intrigued and particularly keen to try the tofu feasts which are available in some regions of China where diners are served a banquet table full of tofu based dishes- what I would consider as tofu heaven!


I know many others don't share the same love of tofu as me, nor do I think I will be visiting those regions of China anytime soon, so in the meantime I'll make do with my own tofu dishes to satisfy those tofu cravings.

I tend to cook tofu with more Asian flavours, typically in dishes like Mapo tofu, but I was quite interested in this Crispy Tofu recipe which uses a spicy peanut butter based sauce. The original recipe uses firm tofu and results in quite a dark, crispy tofu but I did make modifications as I had almond butter that I wanted to use up and I tend to prefer soft tofu. The resultant dish is more of a delicate tofu dish than the original, but no less tasty- the flavour certainly packs a punch!


It's a very different way of having tofu than the way I'm used to but the nutty flavours are very enjoyable and pair with the tofu very well. I thought the zoodles would be a strange combination but textural contrast from the extra crunch is actually quite welcome and I can definitely see myself making this more often!

What is your favourite tofu dish?
Spicy Sesame Zoodles with Crispy Tofu

Recipe from Pink of Yum
serves: 6

INGREDIENTS

Chili Sesame Sauce:
½ cup peanut butter (I used almond)
⅓ cup sesame oil
⅓ cup light low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chili paste
2 tablespoons sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Zoodles and Tofu
12 ounces extra firm tofu
4-6 zucchini
sesame seeds and scallions for topping

  1. Chili Sesame Sauce: Shake all the sauce ingredients in a jar or toss them in the food processor and give them a whirl. If you're going to have this cold, refrigerate your sauce for a while.
  2. Tofu:Press excess moisture out of the tofu. Cut into bite sized pieces. Heat a tiny bit of oil in a nonstick pan. Add the tofu and stir fry until golden brown. Add about ½ cup sauce and simmer until the sauce starts to evaporate / absorb into the tofu and becomes browned in the pan. Keep gently flipping and scraping browned bits off the bottom - after a while, you should end up with nicely golden brown tofu with some little yummy browned bits from the sauce.
  3. All Together: Spiralize your zucchini and toss with about ¼ cup sauce per serving. Top with tofu, sesame seeds, and scallions. Serve immediately.

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