Deep-fried tofu has always been a favorite of mine - that firm, crispy outside protecting the soft, delicate inside. Needless to say it has always been something I choose at Asian restaurants, and something I make at home as a treat for myself.
This time, I decided to make a slightly different variant on my usual fried tofu with a basic starch batter. I've been experimenting with almond meal a lot, and had a little (starch tainted) leftover from an experiment earlier in the day, so I whipped out my tofu and heated some oil!
I really love the way this turned out - it's definitely not your average crispy tofu. The almond meal gives it a crumbly-like texture on the outside, but it doesn't crumble off the tofu like you'd expect. I should've made three packs and kept the rest for leftovers. This is definitely my new fried tofu standby.
1 pound firm tofu, drained and sliced into long cutlets
1 cup almond meal
1/4 cup tapioca starch
salt to taste
oil for frying (I used sunflower)
In a deep, non-stick pan or pot, heat oil (about an inch deep) on medium-high heat. You want it just hot enough to make the end of a chopstick bubble if you dip it in.
While the oil is heating, mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Next, you can either dump the tofu in and toss to coat (like I did) or you can bread them individually. I found that the mix made just enough to coat a pound of tofu, but if you need a bit more, you can add a couple more tablespoons of meal and a couple teaspoons of starch.
When the oil is hot, gently lay the breaded cutlets into the pan. Check for browning after about 3 minutes - you want a light golden color on the outside. I prefer to flip the cutlets with chopsticks, as it minimizes splatters.
When the cutlets are browned on both sides, drain on a dish towel. (Or paper towel, but dish towels are washable) Plate and serve with sweet pepper sauce* for dipping.
*I couldn't find the brand that I use online, but it's your basic sweet pepper sauce from the Asian market. It's a tall red-labeled bottle that says "Sweet Pepper Sauce for Chicken"