Saturday, 2 June 2012

Kho Manor Nung To Hu (Cambodian Pineapple and Tofu)

Cambodian food is famous for being simple, elegant, fresh and for it's skilful combinations of contrasting flavours. Often fresh fruit takes a starring role in savoury dishes, such as mango and chilli salsa or this delicious and quick pineapple and tofu dish. Apart from marinating the tofu, the dish is very quick to whip up and will have even the most tofu-wary coming back for more. I served this up to a table full of dinner guests, several  of which remarked "I don't usually like tofu, but I love this!". So it may be a good one to use when introducing tofu to sceptics!

300g hard tofu (sometimes called extra-firm tofu)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 stem lemon grass, tough outer parts removed and finely minced
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup mushroom sauce (see note below)
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small fresh pineapple, skin removed and chopped into wedges
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped coriander

To Make
1. Drain the tofu of any liquid in the packet, then squeeze the block gently in your hands to remove as much liquid as possible (if your tofu doesn't withstand gentle squeezing then you have bought the wrong type of tofu - you want hard tofu not firm tofu, it should be a fairly solid block).
2. Cut the tofu into about 2cm squared cubes and place in a bowl or tupperware container.
3. Add the garlic, lemongrass, sugar, soy sauce, mushroom sauce, black pepper and sesame oil and stir well to coat. Leave the tofu to marinate for 2 hours (more is fine, you can leave it over night if you want), stirring every now and then to ensure even marinating.
4. Heat the tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok and add the tofu (including all the marinade). 
5. Add the pineapple and water and simmer for about 15 minutes. The pineapple should be cooked and the sauce thickened slightly. 
6. Stir through the fresh coriander and serve immediately. Serve with rice.

Serves 3-4 as a meal with rice.

NOTE: Mushroom sauce is generally used as a vegetarian alternative to oyster sauce, it is pretty widely available in Asian supermarkets and some regular supermarkets. If you can't find any, check the Asian section of your supermarkets for anything which is labelled as "Stir Fry Sauce" with no other specific descriptions. These generic sauces are usually vegan friendly (you will have to check the back to make sure) and are made from either mushroom stock or a soy bean product. It will have a very similar taste to mushroom sauce, so just substitute that.

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