1 19-oz cake of regular tofu (bean curd), cut into 8 rectangular slices. If using soft tofu, cut into 12 squares.
4 scallions, cut into 2" sections
4 cloves of garlic, smashed & halved
1 cup water
1 tsp. chicken base
4 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. sugar
1 red or green jalapeno, seeded & sliced, for garnish (optional)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp. cornstarch (mix with 3 tbsp. of the sauce mixture)
1. Slice tofu into 8 rectangular pieces (or into 12 square pieces), as shown below .
2. For sauce: stir together water, chicken base, soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, & sugar. Set aside.
3. Heat oil over medium high heat. With paper towels, blot tofu to remove excess water and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Tofu should be fried in a single layer - cook in batches, if needed.
4. Remove tofu to plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
5. Remove all but about 1 tsp. of oil from the pan, bring back up to medium high heat and add scallions & garlic (you can also add 1 sliced jalapeno chili if you like it a bit spicy). Cook briefly then add fried tofu slices.
6. Pour sauce over the tofu, bring to a boil; reduce heat to low & simmer, covered, about 15 minutes or until sauce is slightly reduced. Bring sauce back up to a boil then add the cornstarch slurry. Cook for about 1 minute until sauce is thickened.
7. Place tofu on serving dish, pour sauce over & serve with steamed white rice.
Soft tofu here cut into smaller squares. Soft tofu will break apart if you try to fry it in large pieces.
Here's the other version using the smaller tofu squares. Carefully lift the tofu pieces with a spatula occasionally, to make sure they don't stick to the bottom of the pan (best to use a non-stick pan).
If using soft tofu, you don't have to drain them on paper towels. Just set aside on a plate after pan-frying.
Add garlic and jalapeno (if using).
This version using soft tofu squares. Stir in the soft tofu very carefully, as they will break apart easily.
Bring sauce back up to a boil and add cornstarch slurry to thicken.