Tofu! Now some of you are going to read that and think, WHAT?! TOFU?! Yes, tofu. Why? It is horribly underrated and completely delicious. Once you get the real thing. Tofu is thought of as a vegetarian or vegan ingredient, and yes it is, but in Asia it is as common to see it in a dish with meat, as not. See my recipe for Kimchi Jjigae (Korean Kimchi, Pork & Tofu Stew) for a very tasty example of this.
Tofu is also a fast food. The fastest, it is already good to go. It soaks up flavours and loves contrasting textures. I love it in a crispy fritter for brunch as much as I do in a stew. I love proper silken tofu, fresh from fridges of Asian food shops (especially Japanese). Silken is a joy, the very good stuff has the texture of custard. All of it is sublime when fried, and I have fried tofu every which way. A firm – nay, wobbly – favourite is Agedashi Tofu.
Agedashi Tofu – Fried Tofu with Dashi!
A Japanese delight of a dish, age-dashi means fry-dashi and that is what this is, fried tofu with a seasoned dashi broth. Seasoned with soy and mirin (you can use sake too). It is naturally gluten free, usually using potato starch or corn starch. I love to use potato starch for this, it confers a stretchy crispness which is perfect with the wobbly tofu underneath. I sometimes mix the potato starch with rice flour, and of course you can just use rice flour too which will give a lovely crisp coating.