South East Asian countries are where fried food went to die. There are simply so much fried goodies than the rest of the world combined. Anything can be fried and eaten. I once visited Tegal, Central Java, where a food stall owner whipped up a bunch of tapioca flour with some water and dropped spoonfuls of the batter in hot oil. When turned brown, the batter become something crunchy on the outside and very questionable gooey transparent looking thing inside. She then served it up with chili sauce and handed it to me. For me anything deep-fried served with chili is good.
Tahu sumedang or stuffed tofu is popular street snacks. Tofu used is not the silky type, rather the denser type that can be deep-fried in batter and sliced. It doesn’t cost that much to buy off the street, but not that difficult to make at home either.
It is usually served with thick gooey brown sugar and chili sauce or fresh bird’s eye chili. Since I don’t know how to make the brown chili sauce, I used chili. It is scarily spicy. Omit if you have a faint heart.
We have pre-fried tofu for sale in our local supermarket or traditional market. To make this, please cut your tofu blocks into smaller pieces, about 5×5 cm. Line the tofu with dry kitchen towel bottom and top, Place a heavy plate on top to drain the water off the tofu. Leave for 15 minutes and deep-fry till golden.
To prepare for the filling, prep all the vegetables. Here we used cabbage, carrot and bean sprouts. Grate carrot coarsely and slice the cabbage.
For the spices, the usual shallots, garlic, candlenut and white pepper are used. If no candlenuts available, it is fine to omit or use nutmeg powder instead.
Combine spices for paste, sugar and salt in a mortar.
Start pounding (or grinding, if you use electric spice blender)
Work on it till it becomes coarse paste.
Heat some cooking oil in a wok. Stir-fry the paste over high heat for a couple of minutes.
Add the vegetables into the wok. Stir-fry quickly for 4-5 minutes.
Lower heat and season with salt if necessary. Remove from heat. Let cool down before using it for the stuffing.
Make a cut right in the middle. If you use the pre-fried tofu from the store, most of the time it is hollow inside, which makes the stuffing easier. If your tofu is too solid, you can scoop out the flesh a bit to make space for stuffing with a small teaspoon. I used a pair of scissors to make the cut.
Place a couple of spoonfuls of vegetable filling into the tofu. The veggies would look too bulky to fit in there, but make sure you fill in as much as you can.
Combine dry ingredients for batter in a mixing bowl. It would be flour, tapioca starch and salt.
Add water into the batter and crush any lumps.
The batter should have medium consistency – not too runny and not too thick.
Here are the tofu, all stuffed and ready to be fried.
Prepare cooking oil for deep-frying.
One by one, coat a piece of tofu into the batter.
Lower it into the hot oil.
Do this three or four at a time. Do not add too much or the tofu will crowd out the wok and makes it more difficult to be cooked and they would stick to each other.
Give it a couple of turns. Fry till brown and crispy, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve warm with fresh chili or bottled chili sauce.
Makes 5 servings (depends on the number of tofu squares used)
- 175 g / 15 tofu, pre-fried
- 50 g bean sprouts
- 50 g cabbage, shredded
- 2 carrots, coarsely grated
- 6 shallots
- 3 garlic
- 3 candlenut
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 100 g all purpose flour
- 25 g tapioca flour
- 150 cc water
- Pinch of salt
- Cooking oil for frying vegetable and deep-frying tofu
- Fresh bird's eye chili or chili sauce for dipping
Combine ingredients for spices and blend till resembles thick paste.
Heat 1/3 cup cooking oil. Stir-fry paste till fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Add vegetables into the wok. Stir quickly to mix the paste and cook the vegetables.
Cook for 4-5 minutes till vegetables wilted. Do not over cook.
Remove and let cool.
Stuff the filling into sliced tofu
Combine ingredients for batter in a mixing bowl.
Heat cooking oil to deep-fry the tofu. Dip stuffed tofu into hot oil.
Deep-fry till crispy golden brown.
Serve warm with chili.