Mr Fox came home with a shocking request one night – he wanted me to make him deep fried, honey garlic tofu. Huh? I have been married to this man for almost 14 years now and suddenly, he wants to eat tofu? I was shocked. Apparently, he had some honey garlic tofu when some friends ordered Chinese take-out and LOVED IT. Of course, being Chinese take-out, he also had a major gluten reaction to the dish. Chinese food has been a problem since cutting out gluten since most soy sauce contains it. I had to make this dish at home…without ever having tried it (of course.)
Step 1: Get a detailed description of the dish from Mr. Fox. Nope….not happening. Step 2: Start searching for Honey Garlic sauce recipes on the internet…O.K. Lots of those! I ended up using this recipe as a base and then changing it up.
In regard to the fried tofu, I used a technique that has been swimming in my head for ages now…based on some failed attempts at frying tofu in the (far away) past. I have no idea if this technique is authentic, but it worked really well and is fast and easy…totally my style for a weeknight dinner.
Start by slicing up half a block of firm tofu. Honestly, slice it as thin or thick as you like. Mr. Fox (based on the original thing he ate) wants it sliced thin…and I never seem to slice it thin enough for him. The recipe still turns out, so we keep trying…
I then cut each slice into thirds. Again, go with whatever shape you like…
Now you want to press the water out of the tofu. Line a plate with some paper towels and get the tofu on there in a single layer. Top with more paper towel, tuck in the edges and put something flat and heavy on top. I use a cutting board, weighted down with a kettle full of water, but feel free to be as creative with this as you like.
While the tofu is being pressed, you can get started on the honey, garlic sauce. In a bowl, combine:
– 1/3 cup of honey
– 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
– 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
– 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (gluten-free for us)
– 1/3 cup of cold water
Stir that up and set it aside.
Now for the garlic! Peel 5 cloves of garlic (or more, if you like…I personally feel that you can always add extra garlic to a dish.)
I now use a garlic press to press all of that yummy garlic into a small saucepan that has a bit of oil in it. It you prefer to chop garlic (or do not have said garlic press), go ahead! Do this in a cold pan – it makes it a lot easier to control how fast that garlic browns.
Now put the saucepan over medium/medium-low heat and watch it carefully. Stir occasionally and, once the garlic starts to turn golden, dump the rest of the sauce mixture in there. Do not think that you can quickly assemble the sauce mixture while the garlic is browning. I have tried this. I have burned garlic to show for it.
Give the sauce a good mix and turn up the heat a bit. You want to bring the sauce to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer it for about 5 minutes.
It will thicken up and look glossy and gorgeous! Set the sauce aside and get started on frying that tofu!
Deconstruct your “tofu-pressing sculpture” and dump the tofu into the plate.
Drizzle some soy sauce onto the tofu and toss it around to coat. The soy sauce will soak into the now-dry tofu and give the tofu a bit of flavour and the coating something to cling to.
Now take out a large, flat-ish pot and put it on medium heat. As it’s heating up, add a thin (let’s say 1/2 inch) layer of oil to it (It really doesn’t take a lot of oil to fry tofu.)
While the oil is heating up, add some cornstarch to a bowl and dredge as much tofu as you want to fry in your first batch in the cornstarch. How much? It really depends on the size of your pot and how you cut your tofu, doesn’t it?
Once the oil is hot, add the tofu to the pan. I test the oil by dipping a side of the tofu into it…if it sizzles, you’re good to go. Fry until golden brown and delicious. You will need to flip the tofu when the first side is golden (in case this was not clear.)
Now remove and set aside on some paper towel to drain. Dredge and fry up the rest of the tofu in batches and you are ready to eat!
I serve the honey garlic tofu with coconut rice and some roast broccoli, but go ahead and eat it any way you like…
- 1/2 block of firm tofu
- 1/3 cup of honey
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (more for dredging)
- 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of gluten-free soy sauce (more to marinade the tofu)
- 1/3 cup of cold water
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
- Canola oil (dual purpose)
- Slice tofu as thinly as you like and place in a single layer on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Cover with more paper towels and weigh down tofu to press the water out of it.
- Combine honey, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and cold water in a bowl and mix. Set aside.
- Add a tablespoon of oil to a small saucepan and press the garlic into the pan using a garlic press.
- Place the saucepan over medium/medium-low heat and cook the garlic until golden, stirring occasionally.
- Add the honey mixture to saucepan and whisk.
- Bring sauce to boil and then reduce heat to simmer.
- Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until sauce is thick. Set aside.
- Place a large, flat pot over medium heat and add enough oil to coat bottom by 1/2 inch.
- Remove tofu from paper towels and toss with soy sauce.
- Add some cornstarch to a bowl and dredge tofu.
- Once oil is hot, fry tofu, turning once, until golden brown. Let drain on paper towel.
- Serve tofu with honey garlic sauce.