Fried Tofu with Awesome Sauce. It’s not turkey!

photo by: Richard Gwin

Fried Tofu with Awesome Sauce

The minute Thanksgiving is over, the switch is flipped and I want to start eating things that have spice, color and are the dead opposite of the rich, creamy, salty foods of the holiday.

Lately, I’ve been on a tofu kick. I know, I know. But here’s the deal — I fry it. So it’s not as healthy as it sounds. I fry it and dip it in my semi-homemade “awesome sauce” which is a not-so-close knock offof the Awesome Sauce served at the Blue Koi restaurants in Kansas City, Mo. If you have never been to one, by the way, please make the trip immediately. And be sure to get the Awesome Sauce. My version is super tasty, if not exactly the same.

Fried tofu is really easy and fast to do, and you pair it with that really flavorful sauce. Your guests will think you’re super fancy. I even got my 6-year-old to try it, and while he wasn’t a fan (don’t worry — he hates everything) it at least got a little attention at the dinner table.

Fried Tofu in Awesome Sauce

1 block firm tofu, well-drained and patted dry
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
1 teaspoon sesame oil (for flavor)

1 jar store-bought Asian plum sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil (more if you like heat)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce (in the Asian food section)
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic
Sprinkling of finely chopped fresh cilantro

Just warm everything in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and everything is a little bubbly.

For the tofu: Between two paper towels, press the tofu on all sides fairly firmly (but don’t crush it) to squeeze out as much liquid as you can.

Chop it into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes, and toss it in the cornstarch so that every cube is completely covered.

Meanwhile, heat the oils together in a high-sided skillet or a dutch oven over high heat. Be sure you have enough oil to completely cover your tofu cubes.

Drop them in and resist the urge to stir them for about two minutes. Then stir to make sure nothing is burning. Fry until they are nice and golden brown. Serve hot or cold — it’s good either way!