The Things We Do

Several friends of mine enjoy scouring the deepest part of Luanda searching for Asian ingredients like tofu, bean sprouts, xiao bai cai, chili padi, shallots, tapioca flour, etc. Several times a month they would get together and make a day trip to the far away Chinese farms, buying things by the kilo. When the location gets too dangerous, a driver or a maid would be sent with the shopping list.

The other day when they were taking orders, I decided to put my own order: bean sprouts and fried tofu. I’m particularly missing my childhood snack.

Tahu Isi Goreng 01
This fried stuffed tofu is an Indonesian snack typically sold by the street vendors. You can always find one such vendor by the school gate. Not the most hygienic nor the healthiest, certainly not the kind of food that children should be spending their pocket money on. But there’s something about defying your parents’ order behind their backs and a bag of hot, deep fried stuffed tofu.

Stuffed tofuTahu Isi Goreng 03
For this one, we use the pre-fried, brown skin, hollow and airy tofu. They often look wrinkled too. But they are excellent for stuffing or when dumped into a bowl of curry, they soak up all the excellent juices. If you can’t find this, firm hard tofu is a good substitute.

FRIED STUFFED TOFU (TAHU ISI GORENG)
adapted from Sajian Sedap
serve 4-6 as snacks

15 fried tofu (rather hollow & brown skin) – substituted with firm, white tofu
1 large carrot, grated
handful of raw bean sprout, roughly about the same quantity of carrot – cut off the roots if needed
handful of thinly sliced green cabbage, roughly about same quantity of cabbage
1 egg white
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chicken bullion powder, optional
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Frying batter:
125 gr all purpose flour
25 gr rice flour
200 ml water
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 large garlic clove, pounded into a paste with a little water
pinch of salt

  • Create a slit in the fried tofu and scoop out most of the white filling inside, but not all the way to the skin. You want to leave some to act as sponge to absorb the liquid from vegetables when the tofu is finally deep fried.
  • In a large bowl, mix the tofu filling, carrot, raw bean sprout and green cabbage. Season with white pepper, salt, chicken stock powder (if using) and 1 egg white. Mix well.
  • Stuff the vegetable mixture into the tofu and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, make the frying batter. Whisk well to create a consistent batter.
  • In a wok, over medium heat, pour enough oil to deep fry the tofu. When the temperature is ready, gently dip the stuffed tofu into the frying batter, making sure the slits are covered with batter.
  • Gently drop the tofu onto the oil. If the slits are still gaping, carefully drop a teaspoon of batter right onto the slit and submerge it under oil. I find working with wooden chopstick is the easiest.
  • Fry few minutes until the tofu is brown. Fish out and set aside for few minutes before serving.

Note: You can prepare the stuff tofu and the batter the night before.

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