When I was little, my siblings and I used to have dinner at grandma’s. Dinner time would not be complete without back-to-back Chinese period dramas on TV. I remember being in awe of beautiful princesses in their delicate brocade Manchu-style robes and elaborate tasselled headdresses. This bento pays homage to all those TV shows back then that kept us entertained for hours as we chowed down grandma’s delicious food.
To keep my theme consistent, I made a side of Tofu Manchurian, a vegetarian take on Chicken Manchurian (deep fried chicken chunks coated in a hot sweet-and-sour sauce)… which funnily enough, doesn’t originate from Manchuria or China. It is an Indo-Chinese dish, i.e. Chinese food cooked Indian style. I decided to pan-fry my tofu (instead of deep frying) instead for health reasons. Scroll further down for Tofu Manchurian recipe.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- 1 block of firm tofu, drained well, patted dry, and cubed
- 1/2 an egg, beaten
- a pinch of cracked black pepper
- a pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp of cornflour
- 2 shallots, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- a small knob of ginger, grated
- half cup of mixed peppers (red, green, and yellow), diced
- 2 bird’s eye chilli, deseeded and chopped (replace with milder chilli if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp of soy sauce
- 2 tbsp of ketchup
- 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
- a generous handful of coriander / cilantro (roughly chopped)
- a little powdered white pepper
- half a stalk of spring onion / scallion (chopped)
- salt and brown sugar to taste
1. In a shallow bowl, add all tofu ingredients apart from tofu. Mix well.
2. Dunk tofu cubes into batter and pan fry in a little oil until golden brown. Set aside.
3. In a wok, heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until aromatic. Then add chillies and ginger and sauté for a minute.
4. Add mixed peppers, half the coriander and half the spring onion, and cook for about a minute.
5. Then add soy sauce, ketchup, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Add a little water if sauce is too thick. Let sauce simmer for about five minutes.
6. Finally add tofu cubes. Toss and coat tofu cubes with sauce. Alternatively, arrange tofu cubes on plate and spoon sauce onto tofu cubes. Top with remaining coriander and spring onions and serve with rice or naan bread.