"shaken" tofu - vietnamese tofu luc lac

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as i've mentioned before, i'm currently eating vegetarian for 49 days in honor of my mom. i only have a week left to go! every year, it gets a little easier as i find more and more recipes that make the transition seamless. "shaking beef" is an incredibly popular vietnamese dish. one day, i'll share the recipe for that, but in the mean time this is my vegetarian take on it using tofu instead. the rich and savory flavor of the tofu paired with a fresh watercress salad makes for one of my favorite dishes ever - with or without meat.

Tofu Marinade: 1 block firm tofu, drained, patted dry and cut into 1 in cubes peanut or canola oil 1 cup cornstarch 1 tbs paprika 1 tbs chili powder 2 cloves garlic 1.5 tbs salt 1 ts thick soy sauce 1 tbs soy sauce 1 ts hoison sauce 1 tbs sesame oil

Vinaigrette: 1/2 cup rice vinegar 1.5 tbs sugar 1/2 tbs salt

1 red onion, thinly sliced 2 bunches of watercress, long stems trimmed 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced 1 jalapeno, sliced 1 yellow onion, slivered

Method:

Prepare vinaigrette by mixing rice vinegar with salt and sugar. It should be a balance of sour, salty and sweet. Thinly slice the red onion and use about 3-4 tbs of the vinaigrette to pickle and set aside covered in fridge for about 10 minutes. Prepare bed of watercress and tomatoes in a serving platter and set aside.

In a bag, mix cornstarch, paprika and chili powder together. Coat tofu with the cornstarch mix. Set carefully in the hot oil (don't crowd; cook in batches if necessary) and cook until lightly brown and crisp on all sides. Remove browned cubes from the pan, drain on paper towels and keep warm. Pour off all the oil but 3 tablespoons and set the pan over medium-high heat. Mix together garlic, salt, thick soy sauce, soy sauce, hoison sauce and sesame oil and set aside Place yellow onion and jalapeno in the pan, cook until onions are slightly translucent Add back in tofu, and cover with the marinade sauce Mix and stir-fry until jalapeno and onions are cooked through

Serve tofu with watercress salad and rice. Enjoy!

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