Pomegranate & Chilli Tofu
Its time again for another variation of our Mongolian beef cooking technique (first featured on Mongolian Tofu). The “Mongolian Beef” technique involves frying your main ingredient first, sautéing the vegetables, then making a sauce and combining everything in the end. It works well because you get the crispyness from the frying and a sticky consistency. Generally the fried ingredients and vegetables are not seasoned that much leaving the sauce to give the wow factor.
The flavours in this recipe are basically sweet & sour with the pomegranate bringing the sweet and the chilli bringing the sour. We used pomegranate molasses (one of our favourite kitchen ingredients -and is going to feature heavily in the coming months). Pomegranate molasses is a thick, sticky, sweet, tangy reduction of pomegranate juice used widely in middle eastern cuisine (none of our parents have ever used it though!). It makes a great variation on sweet & sour and also adds that dark red colouring to your food.
For the chilli we used one of those tubes of chilli paste. You can use fresh chillies but these things are quick and also have added vinegar which gives an extra zing. You have to control the amount of Pomegranate you add because it can turn the balance and just taste like pomegranate sauce… Best thing to do is keep tasting and add more as required. This is a vegan version, but if you are not vegan I would recommend adding a tsp or two of Oyster sauce to add more of a savoury flavour.
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For the Fried Tofu
- Tofu, drained, cut into thin strips and patted dry
- Corn Flour
- 2 tsp Thai 7 Spice mix
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- Vegetable oil (for deep frying)
For the Sauce
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced, or garlic puree
- Equal amount of chopped fresh ginger or puréed ginger
- 1 tbsp chilli puree or diced chillies (vary according to how hot you like it)
- Mirin or Rice Wine (or white wine) 1/2 cup (optional)
- 2 tbsp pomegranate Molasses
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
For the Vegetables
- 2 medium onion
- 1 medium yellow pepper
- 1 medium red pepper
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- An equal amount of ginger, finely chopped
Remember, make this how you like it. If you prefer lots of vegetables, add lots of vegetables. You can even make do without the tofu alltogether.
Prepare the Tofu.
- The most important thing to do is dry the tofu well. It is full of liquid and you are going to be frying it in hot oil. So it is essential to dry really well.
- In an open bowl, mix the cornflour, thai 7 spice, paprika.
- Add the tofu pieces and coat well
- Fry the tofu on a medium-high heat for around 2-3 minutes and set aside. Do not fry too many pieces together, instead work in batches depending on the size of your pan/wok.
- Drain on kitchen roll and set aside
Prepare the Sauce
- In a wok, add your vegetable oil then add the ginger and garlic, fry for 1 minute (careful not to let the garlic burn)
- Add your mirin and allow to boil on a high heat for 1-2 minutes to burn off the alcohol
- Add the remainder of your sauce ingredients, mix well and allow to cook and thicken for 2-3 minutes
- Pour out into a bowl and set aside
Prepare the vegetables
- In the same wok you made the sauce in (the left over sauce on the wok adds to the flavour of the vegetables) add a little oil and add your ginger and garlic. Fry for 1 minute
- Add all your vegetables and cook until caramelised , about 5 minutes. (Tip..adding a spoonful of the sauce helps the vegetables get extra flavour and caramelise)
Complete the dish
- Once the vegetables are cooked, add the fried tofu peices to them to warm through.
- Then add the sauce and mix well.
- Add your coriander and sprinkle with sesame seeds to garnish
- Serve with your choice of boiled rice.