Tofu improvisation

If tofu is the only thing you have, you cannot make teriyaki tofu. I learned this only after I drained the tofu and my hunt for rice powder and teriyaki sauce yielded nothing. My brother was fifteen minutes away, and the Youngest Niece is always excited and hungry when she gets to our place. I had to finish the tofu fast.

Step 1: Lightly dredge in potato starch and fry till teh cubes are golden outside and soft inside. Replace rice flour by besan. Medium heat for the oil is needed to do a quick cook. This step went well. Cook one side thoroughly before flipping the pieces. (Forgot to order the tongs!) Cook till all sides are brown.

Step 2: Drop teriyaki sauce into the pan, add katsuobushi, and let the sauce coat the tofu cubes and thicken. Impossible. Improvised a mixture of soya sauce and a spicy fig chutney to get a sweet and sour taste. Can’t add this to the pan, so I plated the tofu and poured this over the cubes. I realize I should have added more soya to make it run. But when I taste the scrapings from the mixing bowl, I like it.

Step 3: Garnish with shopped spring onions and gari (pickled ginger). Woe is me. I run to the balcony to pluck a few leaves off the ajwain plant to replace the missing spring onions. I look at the sorry gari I made, but go with it. The bit hits of taste: chunks of ginger and ajwain will be easier on the Indian palate.

I can hear the guests at the door. My hands are not very steady as I put the garnish over the tofu cubes. I haven’t seen my niece in almost a year, since I got back from Wuhan. She enters the kitchen, and I hand her the plate. Big grin. My heart melts and drips on to the plate.

This is not teriyaki tofu, but that was the inspiration. I’m happy that it goes so fast. It is a recipe I’ll use again.

By I. J. Khanewala

I travel on work. When that gets too tiring then I relax by travelling for holidays. The holidays are pretty hectic, so I need to unwind by getting back home. But that means work.


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