Tofu and Spring Vegetables
1 (14-ounce) package water-packed extra-firm tofu, drained
12 cups peanut oil
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 pound baby carrots with green tops
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
6.75 ounces rice flour (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups club soda, chilled
12 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
Place tofu on several layers of paper towels; cover with paper towels. Top with a heavy skillet; let stand 30 minutes. Discard paper towels. Cut tofu in half horizontally; cut blocks into 16 (1/2-inch-thick) slices. Cut slices in half, crosswise, to form 32 (1 x 1/2–inch) rectangles.
Clip a candy/fry thermometer onto the side of a large skillet; add oil to pan. Heat oil to 385°. Combine vinegar and next 3 ingredients (through ginger). Trim carrot tops to 1 inch; peel carrots.
Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking soda, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add club soda, stirring until smooth. Using a slotted spoon, dip tofu in batter. Place tofu in hot oil, and fry 1 minute or until golden, turning once. Make sure oil temperature remains at 375°. Remove tofu, and drain.
Return oil temperature to 385°. Using a slotted spoon, dip carrots in batter. Place carrots in oil; fry 2 minutes or until golden, turning once. Make sure oil temperature remains at 375°. Remove carrots; drain. Return oil temperature to 385°.
Using a slotted spoon, dip peas in batter. Place peas in oil; fry 1 minute or until golden, turning once. Make sure oil temperature remains at 375°. Remove peas, and drain. Serve tofu and vegetables with tamari mixture.
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