2 1-lb. containers of soft tofu
6 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. water
2 scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
2 red chiles, seeded & sliced
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 cups vegetable oil
1. Cut each block of tofu into 8 pieces. Place back into its container and let drain for about 20 minutes. Drain, place on a cutting board & blot dry with paper towels.
2. Combine all remaining ingredients except for the vegetable oil into a medium bowl. Stir together to combine & set aside.
3. Heat 4 cups of vegetable oil in a wok over high heat to 350F. Blot the tofu cubes with paper towels again, and add to the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon (you will probably have to cook the tofu in 2 batches so as not to overcrowd the pan). Fry for about 4 minutes, then turn the tofu cubes over & continue frying for another 4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Fry the 2nd batch of tofu cubes in the same way.
4. Arrange the fried tofu on a plate & serve with dipping sauce on the side. Best served hot.