We've been watching the Tour de France every night. It's an annual ritual in our house. The telecast starts at 10pm and lasts through until around 1.30am. We watch until our eyelids won't let us watch any more. The mind is willing but the body usually calls the shots and we switch off before the end. The next morning, we watch the replay of the bit we missed the night before. We have our routine down to a fine art. We don't miss a second of the action. We spend hours peddling up the Alps, gritting our teeth through time trials and sprinting to the finish line... it's hungry work. A plate of hot and crispy on the outside, soft and silky on the inside tofu gives us the energy to climb another mountain.
Fried Tofu with Sichuan Pepper and Salt
from Kylie Kwong's Recipes and Stories
Serves 4 as a starter
300g silken tofu
1 cups vegetable oil for frying
1/3 cup cornflour
*1 teaspoon of Sichuan salt and pepper (recipe below)
Remove tofu from the pack and invert onto plate. Carefully slice into 6 cubes, draining off any excess liquid.
Heat the oil in small, deep-sided saucepan. Using a small pan means you don't have to use too much oil. Wait until the oil is hot before you start to coat the tofu in the cornflour. If you do it too early, the end result won't be crisp - and crisp is what we're aiming for here.
Coat the tofu lightly in the cornflour.
When the oil is hot, lower the tofu into the pan with a slotted spoon. Fry the tofu in small batches (2 or 3 pieces at a time). Fry until golden brown, remove and drain on kitchen paper.
Sprinkle with the Sichuan salt and pepper and eat immediately while it's hot and crisp.
*Make the Sichuan Salt and Pepper:
Toast a tablespoon Sichuan pepper in a dry wok until it starts to pop and give off its heady scent.
Let it cool and then grind in a mortar and pestle with a tablespoon of sea salt flakes.