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Panfried Tofu With Oriental Garlic Sauce

1-pound block extra-firm or firm tofu, rinsed
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup water
2 to 3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Scotch
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1-inch cube peeled fresh gingerroot, minced
1 teaspoon Oriental sesame oil
1 scallion, minced

Cut the tofu crosswise into 4 slices and let the slices drain
between a double thickness of paper towels for 20 minutes.

While the tofu is draining, in a small bowl dissolve the cornstarch
in 1/4 cup of the water and stir in the remaining 3/4 cup water,
the soy sauce to taste, the vinegar, the Scotch, the sugar, and
the salt. In a heavy saucepan heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the
vegetable oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not
smoking and in it stir-fry the garlic until it is pale golden,
being careful not to let it burn. Add the gingerroot and stir-fry
the mixture for 30 seconds. Stir the soy sauce mixture, add it to
the garlic mixture, stirring, and bring the sauce to a boil,
stirring. Simmer the sauce for 2 minutes, stir in the sesame oil,
and keep the sauce warm.

In a non-stick skillet heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable
oil over high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it brown
the tofu on all sides, turning it with tongs and transferring it
as it is browned to paper towels to drain. Divide the tofu between
2 plates and spoon the sauce over it. Sprinkle the scallion over
each serving and serve the tofu with the rice.

Serves 2.


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