Wow, this was SO GOOD! The little tofu bits were twins for chicken nuggets. Everyone in the house loved them, including the avowed carnivores.
1 block extra-firm tofu, frozen and thawed
2 T. cornmeal
Salt and pepper
Drain the tofu and lightly squeeze out the water. Slice the tofu into flat triangles or rectangles… the more surface area, the crispier they will be. You don’t want them any thicker than 1/2″, though. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling salted water and let stand for 15 minutes. (I used this time to make the sauce, below.)
In a heavy cast iron pan, start heating your oil. I covered the bottom of the pan with a good thick layer, about half as thick as my tofu bits. Make sure you give the pan enough time to get to about 350 degrees (if you don’t have a deep-fry thermometer, you can toss a popcorn kernel in there… when it pops, your oil is ready).
Drain and scatter the tofu on an absorbent kitchen towel, then cover with another towel and gently press to remove as much water as you can. You don’t want to obliterate your little tofu bits, though, just get them dried off as best you can. In a medium sized mixing bowl, toss the cornmeal, salt and pepper together, then dump in the tofu pieces and toss to coat (I had some leftover, so don’t worry if it doesn’t all stick).
Here’s the fun part! Make sure everyone else in the house is occupied, because you can’t walk away from a pan of hot oil. Carefully drop the tofu bits into the oil (use tongs if you’re hinky about this step) and let them sizzle. Despite your curiosity and urge to fiddle, don’t mess around with them. You’ll be able to see when they are starting to brown on the bottom (it’s actually more of a yellowing; if you wait until a full-blown toasty brown, they’ll be closer to burnt). Use the tongs or a spatula to carefully flip them and let them cook on the other side the same way (they’ll go faster on the second side; your vigilance will be well rewarded!). When they are done, place them on a couple of folded paper towels to drain. That’s it!
Sweet & Sour Sauce
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 T. fresh ginger, grated
2 T. rice vinegar
1/2 c. ketchup
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 – 3/4 c. water
2 T. cornstarch
Mix everything but the water and cornstarch in a small pan, and heat to bubbling. Mix the water and cornstarch together, then add to the pan and stir over medium heat until thickened. Add a big ol’ squirt of Sriracha (or other chili sauce) if desired.
We served this with some rice and a salad, and it went over great. Enjoy!