Cooking From 'Asian Tofu'―All About the Umami
As promised yesterday in Taste of Orange County―a recipe from Andrea Nguyen’s new “Asian Tofu” (Ten Speed Press, $30). The book is packed with great preparations, but as soon as my eyes lit on the ingredient list, I knew I had to make this one first—as I’ve said before, peanuts and chili are in my Top 5. When I told her how much I liked it, Nguyen replied, “Isn't that an amazing little dish? What an endorphin-laden umami rush—I could eat an entire batch!”
A perfect side for an Asian menu, or a super-savory cocktail nibble for any meal. All ingredients are findable at an Asian market, and some larger supermarkets. Take a look at Nguyen’s easy-to-use Asian Market Shopper app—it helped me find just what I needed.
Pressed Tofu and Peanuts in Spicy Bean Sauce
(Makes 4 servings)
12 to 14 ounces baked pressed tofu (see photo at right)
2/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
2 large green onions, white and green parts, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon fermented black beans, mashed with the broad side of a knife or a mortar and pestle (see photo at right)
2-1/2 tablespoons chili bean sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons chili oil
Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes, roughly the size of a large peanut, and transfer to bowl.
Refresh peanuts by toasting in a dry skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, until fragrant and slightly darkened. Let cool, then add to the tofu, along with the green onion.
In saucepan or butter warmer, combine peanut oil, sesame oil, fermented black beans, and chili bean paste. Heat over medium heat until gently sizzling, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking for 30 to 45 seconds, stirring constantly, until super fragrant. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and sugar.
Pour sauce over tofu, peanuts, and green onion. Add chili oil to taste. Stir with spatula to distribute seasonings well. Transfer to serving plate to enjoy right away, or cover with plastic wrap and set aside for up to 2 hours.
Reprinted with permission from Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home by Andrea Nguyen, copyright (c) 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.