Crispy Beancurd Cubes with Peanut Dipping Sauce

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In this delectable recipe, based on a dish I once enjoyed in Thailand, the peanut dipping sauce provides the zest and colour for the beancurd. In Thailand, roasted peanuts are pounded into a paste which is much easier to use than our peanut butter; some little bits of peanut are left in the paste to provide a crunchy texture. Here, the fried cubes of beancurd, crusty on the outside and spongy soft inside, are dipped into the peanut sauce, making a delightful starter or cocktail food. Serve the beancurd hot, as its skin toughens as it cools.

Ingredients

  • 350 g (12 oz) firm beancurd
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) oil, preferably groundnut, for deep-frying

Sauce

  • 25 g (1 oz) roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese white rice
  • vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon chilli oil

Method

Cut the beancurd into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes. Combine the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or large wok until it almost smokes. Deep-fry the beancurd cubes for 1–2 minutes in two batches. When each batch of beancurd cubes is lightly browned, remove and drain well on kitchen paper.

Arrange the beancurd cubes on a platter and serve the peanut sauce separately for dipping.

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