Time-consuming, but very worthwhile.
- 6 stalks of lemongrass, minced
- 10 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 11 shallots, chopped on the diagonal into inch long pieces
- ½ - ¾ tblsp of seasalt
- Dash of tamari
- ¼ red chili, chopped finely
- ½ tblsp tumeric
- Safflower or sunflower cold-pressed oil
- 500 grams of firm tofu (firm as you can get), cut into finger-sized pieces
- 1½ cups of corn flour
- Mince the lemongrass, using a blender and adding a few tblsps of water if needed. Combine the lemongrass with all remaining ingredients except the tofu and corn flour. The lemongrass mixture will taste slightly too salty - but this is okay, since the mixture will be diluted when later mixed with the tofu.
- Heat enough oil to coat your frying pan, and then lightly fry the lemongrass mixture, adding a little water if needed to get the mixture evenly cooking. Minimise any water added, since the aim is to create a 'dry sauce', rather than a sauce that can flow.
- Soften the mixture, then take off the heat, cover and set aside.
- Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a second frying pan and set up your tofu production line: one plate with the corn flour and another plate with the tofu next to the stove. Dip a piece of the tofu into the corn flour, coating it on all sides, then shake of any excess flour and slip into the oil. Repeat with the other pieces of tofu until the pan is full, and avoid the tofu pieces touching each other (they'll stick). Fry on both sides until just golden, and then put onto kitchen towels to drain (don't cover or overlap the tofu pieces, since they will go soggy) . You might need to clean the pan between batches, since any excess corn flour left behind in the pan can smoke.
- Put the first frying pan (with the lemongrass mixture) back onto heat and warm up. Add the tofu and lightly stir for 1-2 minutes until just combined, then serve. Lemongrass tofu is great served with rice and morning glory with garlic - or put into a banh xeo (see below) or wrap.