five spice tofu and coriander salad

There are many different types of tofu and and in most Asian supermarkets you can actually buy five-spice firm tofu, but that was beyond the scope of my local shops this time so I simply coated ordinary soft white tofu in good quality five-spice and fried it in very hot peanut oil.


If you fry food in very hot oil and then drain it on kitchen paper, it will end up surprisingly not oily. 
This tofu was fantastic and not greasy, it had a beautiful crunch and five-spice aroma, and I think I'll keep doing it this way. One thing is for sure - this salad rocked!

Just a few words on sauces and spices - I have been buying them from ordinary supermarkets for a long time. There are many western brands of all sorts of ethnic ingredients available, but I must admit that they are no match for authentic ons. This time around I went to a Chinese Supermarket and bought their five-spice, peppercorns, sauces and pastes and I am completely balled over at the taste and fragrance. The five-spice I used to buy pales in comparison to the subtle aroma and awesome flavour of the one mixed in China.
So if you can, even if you musty order over the internet, I strongly recommend you buy authentic spices and sauces, you will notice a huge difference.

Also, there is a big difference between sesame oil and toasted sesame oil. In this recipe use sesame oil for it's subtler flavour.


1 block fresh white tofu (get firm tofu if you can)
five-spice powder
peanut oil for frying
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil


Cut the tofu in half and coat with five-spice powder. Fresh tofu is wet so the powder will stick to it easily.
Heat about an inch of oil in a wok or a non-stick saucepan and when it starts to smoke, gently lower the tofu into it. Allow at least 3-4 minutes on each side so that the tofu is crispy and golden on the outside. When cooked, drain tofu on absorbent kitchen paper and allow to cool.

Chop the coriander coarsley. When tofu is at room temperature, using a sharp knife cut it into chunky strips. Add it to coriander and gently toss.
Add soy sauce, vinegar and oil and mix well.
Allow about 30 minutes before serving so that all the flavours infuse together.

Bon appétit!

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