Ingredients

SAMBAL ULEK (HOT CHILLI PASTE) makes 1 cup
25 fresh red chillies
vinegar or tamarind liquid
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
FOR THE FRIED TOFU WITH PEANUTS
1 teaspoon tamarind pulp
peanut oil, for frying
380g pressed firm tofu, cut into cubes
70g raw peanuts
1 large garlic clove, crushed
½ teaspoon dried shrimp paste
140g crushed roasted peanuts or crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
½ teaspoon sambal ulek (see recipe below, or store bought is fine)
1 teaspoon chopped dark palm sugar (jaggery)
125ml coconut milk
75g shredded cabbage
115g fresh bean sprouts, trimmed
4 spring onions, thinly sliced, to garnish

Sambal ulek may be purchased in jars from Asian grocery stores, but it is simple enough to make at home and can be stored for weeks in the refrigerator.

View the recipe collection here

Instructions

1.SAMBAL ULEK (HOT CHILLI PASTE)
2.Put the chillies, seeds and all, into a food processor with just enough vinegar or tamarind liquid to keep the mass moving and blend to a paste.
3.Add the salt, to taste. Pour into a sterilised airtight jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
4. FOR THE FRIED TOFU WITH NOODLES
5.Soak the tamarind pulp in 1 tablespoon hot water for 10 minutes.
6.Squeeze to dissolve the pulp in the water, then strain, discarding the seeds and fibre. Set aside.
7.Heat the peanut oil in a wok or large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat.
8.Add the tofu, taking care not to break it up, and cook until golden brown on all sides. Drain on a paper towel.
9.In the same wok, cook the raw peanuts for 3–4 minutes, then drain well and rub off the skins. Set aside.
10.Make the sauce by pouring off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the wok.
11.Add the garlic and shrimp paste and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, and crushing the shrimp paste with the back of a spoon.
12.Add the crushed peanuts, soy sauce, tamarind liquid, sambal ulek and palm sugar and stir until well combined.
13.Remove from the heat and gradually add the coconut milk, stirring until the sauce is a thick pouring consistency.
14.To serve, put the tofu on a serving plate, cover with the shredded cabbage and bean sprouts.
15.Spoon the sauce over the top and garnish with the spring onion and fried peanuts.

This is an edited extract
from The Complete Asian
Cookbook by Charmaine
Solomon, with Deborah
Solomon & Nina Harris
(Hardie Grant Books, RRP
$70). Available in stores
nationally. Illustrations by
Amy Wright. Photography
by Alan Benson.

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