Our current living arrangement has us sharing space with my parents about four nights a week. Most of the time, this is a fantastic situation for all involved – I get to cook, everyone gets to eat, and we all go to bed happy. Sometimes, though, my favorite cooking styles and/or ingredients are a little “out there” for my folks. For example, on the evening I made this particular recipe, my dad called from the office to find out what was for dinner. My mom’s response? “Some tofu shit.” I had my work cut out for me.
Thankfully, this America’s Test Kitchen recipe was a great dish to help turn my parents into tofu lovers. Some of their hesitation had to do with texture, but draining and dredging the tofu and then pan-frying it over high heat allowed it to develop a crunchy outer crust. Crisping up the garlic and sprinkling it on top of the finished dish also added a nice textural element (not to mention the fact that it gave the frying oil some extra flavor). I was a little worried about the cabbage – shockingly, I couldn’t find any bok choy at my local supermarket, so I used a large, yellowish cabbage of unknown origin. Thankfully, the flavor was pretty mild and it didn’t turn into mush. The sauce for this dish is killer, with great salty, sweet, and spicy notes.
At the end of dinner, everyone’s plates were licked clean, and my dad even talked about bragging to his cardiologist about his tofu consumption. I may not be able to sneak tofu into every meal, but it’s nice to know that when cooked properly, it can be a real winner.
Cut tofu planks and arrange on paper towel-lined plate. Let drain 15 minutes. Whisk chili sauce, soy sauce, ginger, and ½ teaspoon cornstarch in bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Add cabbage and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in colander.
Add remaining oil and garlic to pan and cook until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Use slotted spoon to transfer garlic to paper towel-lined plate.
Spread remaining cornstarch in shallow plate. Pat tofu dry and season with salt and pepper. Dredge in cornstarch, shaking off excess. Cook tofu in garlic oil, turning occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Pour off oil from pan. Add chili sauce mixture and drained cabbage to skillet and toss to combine. Top with garlic chips.