Inspired by an episode of Martin Yan’s Taste of Vietnam show, I decided to try out his Lemon Grass Tofu with some twists based on ingredients that I have. This fits perfectly with my non-meat and non-rice/noodle mood. For the rice/noodles substitute, I sliced the cucumbers into thin strips to have them with the tofu.
This dish is the first dish that I prepared using the new JA Henckles Santoku Knife (thanks MC!) and mapple wood cutting board (my latest kitchen tools splurge!). I may sound exaggerated if I say having a great knife and cutting board totally enhance the food preparation and cooking experience but seriously, I can feel the differences instantly. For example, it wasn’t easy to mince lemongrass using my previous knife but this Santoku knife nailed it. It was an effortless cutting. And I wouldn’t have such nicely sliced cucumbers and bell peppers if not for the knife.
If you are interested to try this dish out, feel free to follow the following guide:
1. For tofu, I used medium firm but I would say Firm will work well too especially if you want crispier texture when you pan fry the tofu. Cut them into cubes and pan fry them till golden brown, set aside.
2. For sauce, blend the following in a food processor: 1 stalk of lemongrass, a handful of chopped Thai basil, ginger, garlic, shallots, turmeric powder, soy sauce, fish sauce, sambal olek and water. Adjust the amount to your liking. Heat the mixture in a pan for 1-2 minutes and pour the tofu into the pan. Stir fry them for a while and serve on a plate.
3. For garnish, slice some red and green bell peppers. Add carrot or radish if you want to. These vegetables will provide some crunchy textures to the dish as opposed to the soft tofu texture.
4. Serve the dish with white/brown rice. However, for a change, you can try slicing some cucumbers (seasoned with salt) into thin strips. Trust me, it will be as filling as having rice/noodles. I could not finish the whole plate 😉