I fell in love with this dish after an Indonesian ex-flatmate made it for me. She actually first made this dish with tinned sardines (yes.. and just as delicious!) and it's so utterly simple! Alright, not as simple as making Maggi instant noodles in a cup ... but you get the idea :) However......unlike the sardine version, making this dish with tofu does have an extra step...deep frying the tofu. Or if you can just buy ready fried tofu from the supermarket. As the only deep fried tofu I can readily get my hands on would set me back more than 2 quid for a disgustingly small amount, I slaved over the stove a little longer.
Putting it all together:
Tofu, cut into small pieces
Green beans, topped, tailed and cut in half
Tomatoes, cut into small chunks
Chili - lots or as much as you can handle (my flatmate used to use a small handful of bird's eye chillies - ouch!)
Garlic - lots or as much you like
ABC kecap manis - a thick sweet Indonesian soy sauce (Chinese thick soy sauce might be an alternative)
Oil for deep frying
- Heat the oil in a pot. Fry the tofu pieces in batches. Fish them out of the oil as they turn golden brown and drain on paper towels. The tofu will get darker as they continue to cook a while longer out of the oil.
- Once all the tofu is cooked, heat a touch of oil in a pan on a medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chillies to the oil, letting it sizzle and colour but be careful not to let it burn.
- Add the tomatoes and let it soften slightly. Put in the beans and toss with the other ingredients to mix. Let it cook for about a minute or two before turning the heat down.
- Pour in the kecap manis. Use as much or little as you like. If your chillies are a little too hot, add a bit more kecap - it will soften the blow from the chillies. If you don't like your food too sweet, add less. Simple.
- Add the tofu to the pan and coat with the sauce. Cook for another five minutes or so. This is to allow the beans to soften and the tofu to soak up some flavour from the sauce.
- Served with hot steamed rice. Rather good with brown rice as the nuttiness really complements the dish.