How pretty! Now I’m seriously craving asparagus, especially covered in nutty sesame seeds. I think seasoned rice vinegar often has some sugar in the mix, so that might be adding the sweetness of the sauce?
Hi Val- I believe the cornstarch is functioning the same way that flour works with friend chicken. It gives you a dry surface for the egg wash to cling to. You end up with a more even coating of bread crumbs. You could certainly try without, but you might have issues with the bread crumbs sticking. Also, I find that the undercoating allows the breaded item to sit longer before being friend before it gets all gummy. Hope that helps…
My son will go nuts for this recipe. He loves crispy tofu! Thanks for posting with the always-gorgeous photos, too.
FYI, when I’ve tried frying tofu (and fish) in the past without a cornstarch or flour base, the egg/crumb coating often comes off in chunks as the food fries. Much better results with the initial dusting of starch under the egg, and as Tim says, also a more even coating. xo
This looks great! Food section in the Milwaukee paper today featured Bountiful Bean, our Wisconsin tofu producer. Made me promise to cook something yummy with tofu, and soon, and here you are! and re:cornstarch, sometimes another starch might work, like potato? (if it’s an allergy thing.)
We’re eating more tofu at my house lately, so I’m always on the prowl for new treatments…this looks like a winner. I’d probably experiment with the sauce, though. I’ve been cooking a lot from Yotam Ottolenghi’s book ‘Plenty’, which has some interesting Middle-Eastern and Asian sauce combinations.
I do love crispy fried Tofu and have some Panko crumbs in my cupboard so I will be making this maybe ith a spicier dipping sauce for me & my love of chilli!
Asparagus over here are so wonderful at the moment, really at their peak of freshness. A perfect dish and so healthy too!
I find myself in the same pickle year after year with Spring food- I love it, anticipate it, then (for me) kind of stare blankly in the fridge or at the produce at the market near May. This seems like a really yummy go between. Asparagus, perfect. And the tofu— something crispy and fried. Love the combo.
Thanks so much for the inspiration, as always.
Made the tofu tonight. It was a complete hit with my daughter. We are both just starting to explore tofu after many years of avoiding it so this recipe came up at just the right time. I *WILL* be making it again :-)
One of my favorite restaurants here in Zürich, a vegetarian restaurant called Hiltl, has the most wonderful crispy tofu, served with cashews and mango chutney. I have a hard time paying the $25 dollars for it so I haven’t had it in a long time, but now I don’t need to daydream about it, I can make it at home! And I love the idea of pairing it with asparagus. I’ve been trying to eat as much asparagus as possible so I can be good and sick of it by the time it leaves the markets and this looks like a wonderful recipe to add to my asparagus list.
What a great idea of pairing asparagus with tofu! I also find most hoisin sauces tend to be overly sweet. For that reason, I prefer Tianmianjiang, or sweet flour paste, which has a nice balance between sweet and salty.
After stuffing myself silly in New York last week, this is exactly the kind of meal I’ve been craving since I got back. I’m so happy I could meet you and Brian last Thursday! You guys are great. I hope our paths cross again someday, somehow!