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Fried beancurd with garlic and pepper (Tao hou gratiam prik thai)

Tofu is one of the wonder foods; it is packed full of healthy nutrition and health benefits. The Chinese made tofu over 2000 years ago during the Han dynasty. It is core to most Asian cuisines and has adapted very little between the countries of China, Japan, Korea, and others.

This is a relatively simple lovely dish that uses fresh silken tofu. The marinade penetrates the tofu adding a pop of flavour and spice. The fresh vegetables add texture to the soft tofu. This dish is the perfect appetizer or side salad for any meal.

This is a thin cookbook filled with outstanding vegan recipes. Simple recipes for traditional salads, fried foods, noodles, and curries, like this one, make this my go-to cookbook for vegetarian Thai cuisine. Vatch, as he is known, has published several cookbooks, runs some excellent restaurants around the world, and teaches Thai cooking at his school.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 teaspoon chopped cilantro root

1 teaspoon peppercorns, lightly toasted

2 tablespoons light soy sauce or 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon sugar

Salt, to taste

8 oz. soft tofu, cut into thick triangles on the diagonal, about 8 slices

3-4 tablespoons oil

10-12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 cucumber, peeled in stripes and cut into thin circles

Cilantro, roughly torn

Add the garlic, cilantro root, peppercorns, and sugar to a mortar and pound with a pestle till you have a smooth paste, about 3-4 minutes. Add the salt and soy sauce and mix in well.

add 1/3 of the dressing to the bottom of a dish. Top with the tofu and add the remaining dressing on top of the tofu. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Add half the oil and the pieces of tofu to a frying pan. Fry on medium-high for 2-3 minutes until the tofu is browned on one side. Flip and fry again until the second side is also browned.

Transfer to a platter and garnish with the tomatoes, cucumbers and cilantro. Serve while still very hot.

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