Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Thai Dipping Sauce

Let’s face it, some dishes are about the sauce. I never realized until I started following @itsmetinx (who I’m obsessed with) that some people are just like insane sauce/condiment enthusiasts. I am one of those people! Yes the tofu is an important, and delicious, part of this recipe, but it’s really the tangy AF umami dipping sauce that I would keep on speed dial.

SHOPPING LIST: 2 packages of extra firm tofu, brown sugar, chopped garlic, scallions, green chilies, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime, sesame seeds

Slice your tofu cubes horizontally into 3 equal “steaks” and lay the tofu slabs into a flat container. The firmness of the tofu is important here, so if you can’t find extra firm tofu I’d skip this all-together. Since tofu is so bland to begin with, you want to to cover your steaks in soy sauce and then allow the steaks to soak for 1-3 hours to really absorb the soy flavor. (If you’ve got the time, giving the steaks a couple flips during this time will help for even absorption.)

While your tofu steaks are soaking up the soy, let’s turn to the aforementioned main event. In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1 tB. chopped garlic, 2 tB. chopped scallions, 2 chopped green chilies, 2 tB. rice wine vinegar, the juice of one lime and 1 tsp. of fish sauce. Whisk it up with a fork and add a pinch of salt if you so desire. This dip works amazing with dumplings or any sort of fried Asian-esque bite.

In a cast iron skillet (or flat saucepan), add about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil and place over high heat. To finish your tofu, remove the steaks from the soy sauce and place them flat on a cutting board. Season the steaks with salt and pepper and then cover the entire surface with sesame seeds. Use a paper towel to apply firm pressure to the sesame seeds to get them nice and stuck to the tofu. Fry the steaks sesame-side down for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Flip and continue frying for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the oil onto paper towels to remove any excess oil and finish with a sprinkle of salt. (NOTE: anytime you are frying something it’s always important to salt immediately after frying.)

Serve your hot, sesame-crusted tofu steaks with your new favorite dipping sauce. Looking to round out the meal? Grab a bag of Brussels sprouts, slice off the stems, remove any dirty leaves, and slice in half. Fry the halved Brussels sprouts in the same oil as your tofu until blistered and delicious and again, sprinkle with salt before serving. The fried Brussels sprouts will go perfectly with the sweet and sour sauce as well.

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