Inexpensive, healthy and with the ability to absorb flavors like a sponge, tofu is a great ingredient to combine with meat, poultry or seafood. In this recipe, the partially cooked chicken and tofu were tossed with spices and aromatics and they all cooked together for another ten minutes — just enough time for them to soak up all the spiciness and goodness.
For added texture and a surprising crunch, I lined the serving platter with lettuce to create a bed for the chicken and tofu. To add even more flavor to the simple stir fry, I sprinkled torn cilantro and holy basil over the cooked dish just before serving.
Inspired by Speedy’s lemongrass and chili stuffed tofu.
Chili-garlic chicken and tofu
- 4 chicken thighs skin on, each chopped through the bone into four pieces
- 1 teaspoon patis (fish sauce) plus more for the sauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus more for the sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar plus more for the sauce
- 1 cake firm tofu about 300 grams
- cooking oil for frying the tofu
- 1 teaspoon bird’s eye chilis finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 stalks lemongrass finely sliced
- 1 bunch lettuce
- torn cilantro to garnish
- holy basil to garnish
- Place the chicken in a bowl. Add the fish sauce, lemon juice and sugar. Mix well.
- Cut the tofu into bite-size cubes.
In a frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least two inches. When fine wisps of smoke float on the surface of the oil, fry the tofu cubes, in batches if necessary, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
- Pour off the oil.
- Reheat the frying pan. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken pieces are lightly browned and seared (the remaining oil that coats the bottom of the pan plus the fat rendered from the chicken skin are quite enough to do the job).
- Add the chilis, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Continue cooking until the spices emit their flavor and aroma (the chilis will lightly color the chicken).
- Add the tofu to the chicken. Pour in about one-fourth cup of water. Season with more fish sauce, lemon juice and sugar. Cover the pan and cook the chicken and tofu over medium heat for about ten minutes.
- Line a serving platter with lettuce leaves. Tip the pan over the platter and push the chicken and tofu over the lettuce, allowing the little sauce that remains to drizzle over them.
- Sprinkle the cilantro and holy basil over the chicken and tofu. Serve hot with rice.