Spicy Salt Tofu
1 block extra firm tofu
2-3 medium sized fresh Jalapenos (sliced thin) (you can use green chiles, serrano or habanero or pepitas…to your spice level)
4-6 T (or more) Deep fried or roasted garlic (you can use fresh cloves but they need to be sliced thin)
Salt / Pepper / granulated garlic optional. Some people also use Chinese five spice but I’m not a fan. Curry might be good.
A lasagna or cake foil pan you can cover with a lid or foil. Disposable works great. You’ll need to be able to lift it up and lightly toss it so glass probably not a good idea.
A non stick pan with enough oil to pan fry the tofu. Deep frying is better but your call.
Drain tofu and squeeze as much water out of it as possible. I usually cut it across the middle so I have 2 shorter blocks. Press these blocks with paper towels to get as much of the water out as possible. You want them to be very dry.
Mix salt and pepper and the granulated garlic into the cornstarch to make a dredge. Put the jalapenos and garlic into the lasagna pan and have it nearby so you can put the tofu into it.
Cut the tofu into long rectangles… about one finger long and two fingers wide. Some people like squares. I just prefer rectangles. After the oil is hot, dredge the tofu into the cornstarch mixture then gently slip them into the oil. Leave enough room so you can turn them. When the tofu is all brown and crispy, take them out, shake a bit to get some of the oil off then slide into the lasagna pan.
COVER IT IMMEDIATELY. Shake it around lightly to spread the tofu around the jalapenos and garlic and leave it alone while you do the next tofu batch.
DO NOT OPEN THE PAN until it is time to put the next finished batch of tofu in. Once in, cover immediately and shake about to mingle the contents.
Repeat until you are done with all the tofu and then let sit for a few minutes. Then open up and be careful because the contents will be hot.
You can salt and pepper it again if you like. Serve with sweet/sour sauce or shoyu/Chinese pepper oil.
The steam from the tofu will cook the jalapenos and release the oils in the garlic so it is imperative to not fuss with the foil or pan lid. The steam releasing also sucked those flavours into the tofu so just let all of that happen. You can also use this method with shell-on shrimp. I’ve not tried it with unshelled shrimp but it probably would work too.