DEEP-FRIED TOFU WITH PEANUT SAUCE
1 lb. firm tofu
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 dried red chili peppers, seeded, soaked and coarsely chopped
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 cup rice or cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup finely chopped/crushed peanuts
2 cups of peanut or vegetable oil for frying
2 Tbsp. coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. red pepper flakes
1. Cut the tofu in 1- 1/2 inch square pieces and set aside.
2. Make a paste (with such small quantities, a mortar and pestle are probably the easiest method) of the garlic, coriander, 3 seeded chili peppers, and salt. Add the vinegar and mix.
3. Dissolve the 1/4 cup sugar in 1/4 cup hot water and add it to the paste along with the 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts. Mix well (the food processor helps here) and put it in a serving bowl. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and red pepper flakes.
4. Put the 2 cups of peanut oil in a wok or frying pan over medium-high heat.
5. Deep-fry the tofu in hot (360 degrees Fahrenheit) oil for 5 minutes, until a light gold. Drain on paper towels.
Place the tofu on a serving plate and the bowl of peanut sauce next to serve as a dip. Serve either hot or at room temperature.