I was not a tofu lover until I came to St Louis. I ate tofu occasionally when someone offered to cook for me or when I dined out. Cooking tofu at home was a skill I acquired here. When I suddenly decided to take a liking to tofu.
I still remember the first time I cooked tofu at my old apartment. The moment the tofu touched the hot oil, the oil splattered every where. The floor, the stovetop and more painfully my hands; even though I had the cover of the wok as my shield. I was defeated by the seemingly harmless looking block of tofu. Ever since then, I convinced myself that cooking tofu at home was risky business and shall never be attempted again.
After I came to St Louis, I acquainted with tofu after my scientist husband told me the correct way to handle a block of tofu. He gently reminded me of the basic nature of the reaction between water and oil, and more importantly how to avoid splatter of oil when one cooks tofu.
The key, as he plainly pointed out is to drain the tofu, and make sure that the surface of the tofu is dry before adding them to the oil. I guess any experienced cooks have probably known this, but that was two years ago while I started to cook.
Like the ending of a fairy tale, I live a happy ever life cooking and eating tofu since then. Now, I cook tofu every week without worrying about the splattering. One trick that I learned and have never share with anybody though, is to wear an oven glove if you still worry about the splattering. The oil may dirty your glove but it will never kiss the delicate skin of your fingers!
Enough about the tips. I have a real good tofu recipe to share tonight. I woul call it seafood tofu with Gochujang sauce. It's a sweet and spicy recipe that comes together in a flash, and packed full of flavor. Making it suitable for week night dinner with a big bowl of rice.
Seafood Tofu with Gochujang Sauce
1 pack (12 oz)firm tofu, drained and blotted dry with several pieces of kitchen towels, cut into cubes
4 oz shrimps, shelled and deveined
5 fish balls, halved (optional)
1/2 zucchini, thinly sliced
2 bunch of scallion, cut into 2-inches pieces
3 gloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 heaping tablespoon Gochujang
4 tbsp chicken broth /water
1 tbsp mirin, or more to taste
1/2 tbsp sugar, or more to taste
salt and pepper
Heat oil in a non-stick skillet until hot. Add in tofu cubes and make sure all the tofu cubes are in contact with the surface of the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes until one side of the tofu turned brown from searing. Add in garlic, zucchini, scallion and sesame oil. Stirfry until the zucchini turned soft. About 2 minutes.
Add shrimps and fish balls. Continue to cook until the shrimps turn pink. Add a heaping tablespoon of Gochujang to the tofu mixture followed by chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil and add mirin, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
You can add more gochujang if you preferred a spicier dish. If the dish turned out spicier than you can handle, add more sugar to dilute the spiciness.
*Gochujang can be found at Asian grocery stores.