I had to cancel three trips in the last two months for various reasons. (I got sick, work piled up, I was too lazy to pack, I wanted to finally finish A Dance with Dragons and the hardcover copy was too heavy to lug around.) Holed up at home with two packs of tofu in the fridge, I ended up playing mad scientist in the kitchen with blocks of bean curd as my hapless victims.
Even though tofu has the exciting flavors of soggy cardboard, I’m still fairly happy with having it fried and dipped in soy sauce and kalamansi. This time, I went a couple of steps further and tried to do other things with this vegetarian staple. I’m not a vegetarian, by the way, although I prefer vegetables over meat most of the time. I love isaw (barbecued chicken or pork intestines) and tenga (pig’s ears) too much to give them up.
Experiment 1: Tofu marinated in soy sauce, ketchup, oyster sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and enough cayenne and black pepper to rupture your hemorrhoids. After a few hours of marinating in the fridge, cook the tofu with the marinade on a pan, simmer until all the liquid evaporates, add a little oil, and fry until it turns brown. The tofu turned out to be a tad too salty for my liking but still edible.
Experiment 2: Tofu cooked in patis (fish sauce), brown sugar, ginger and garlic. This is basically a derivative of the first experiment. In this recipe though, there were equal parts patis and sugar so it was an intense battle of saltiness and sweetness that required another side dish to balance the taste.
Experiment 3: Tofu with cheese. Beat one egg, dip the tofu in it and fry until golden brown. Place a slice of cheese on top and allow it to melt before removing from heat. This one is probably the most palatable among the three although the richness of the cheese gets to you after a while.
So I managed to eradicate the entire tofu population in the fridge along with a good portion of condiments and spices. Lesson learned: When all else fails, make a salad. Or better yet, get out of the house more and get a life. There’s only so much you can do with tofu.