I made another dish from The Hakka Cookbook…it was really, really spicy. I *loved* that. but someone else….not so much. So if you are averse to spicy, this is probably not the thing for you.
Anyway, in The Hakka Cookbook, this dish is called “Tangra Masala Beef.” She also suggests you can substitute chicken, lamb, or shrimp. WHAT ABOUT THE TOFU?
So I made it with tofu. Here’s how.
First I made the masala. I mixed together 2 tbs sweet paprika with 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp cayenne, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder in a small bowl. I also added in 1 tsp of ground cumin because I realized I was out of cumin seeds. According to the recipe you first sautee 2 tsps cumin seeds, but since I had none, I skipped that step added ground cumin to the spice mix instead.
Next, I chopped a shallot. Then I heated some canola oil in a small frying pan and added the chopped shallot. When those began to brown, I added in the spice mixture. I stirred it in until it was all mixed and then removed it from heat. I added 1 tsp sugar and a couple of 2 tbs water until I had a paste.
I prepared my “meat.” I drained, dried, and cut my 1 lb block of tofu into big squares and put them into a plastic bag with 1 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp vegetable oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and ground black pepper. I smooshed it all around and then set it aside.
I set up a pot of rice to cook.
Then I prepared the stir fry ingredients: I chopped about 2 tbs onion, 2 tbs garlic, 1 tbs fresh ginger, and one serrano chili pepper. I set those aside while I fried the tofu.
I heated some oil in my wok and added the squares of tofu to the hot oil and let them sizzle until they got golden brown underneath. I flipped them and let them fry for a few more minutes. They didn’t get as brown on the other side, just a little crispy. Then I removed them with a slotted spatula and put them on a plate with a paper towel to soak up the extra oil. While the tofu was draining, I added the stir fry vegetables to the wok. I sauteed them until the onions softened and then scooped the masala paste into the wok and added 1/2 cup of water. I stirred to blend…
…and then added the tofu squares back into the wok and mixed everything well so the tofu was well coated with the masala.
I spooned the rice into bowls, and then placed the tofu masala on top of the rice. I have no idea if this is how one should serve it. But I liked it that way. And now I have lots of lunch leftovers.
Apologies, these are not great pictures, but at least I managed to capture a moment of having two helpers: