What’s For Dinner?
Crispy Lemon Grass Tofu - from Nam
(First star is lowest, fourth star is highest)
FROM THE MENU OF . . . NAM RESTAURANT
931 Monroe Drive, Suite A-101, Atlanta
Q: I fell in love last week ... with lemon grass tofu. Nam Restaurant is extraordinary in many ways, and the tofu was delectable.
JENNIFER ERRION, Atlanta
A: "It's hard for a lot of people to get acquainted with tofu. But once you try it, it becomes a different item altogether" --- not just a substitute for meat, said Ky Nguyen, a chef at Nam.
Hands on time: 30 minutes Total time: 30 minutes Serves: 2
Canola oil for frying
1 (12- to 16 ounce) block tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks fresh lemon grass, tender part only, minced
1 tablespoon chili paste
1 red onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey
In a wok, heat a small drizzle of canola oil. Add the garlic, lemon grass, chili paste, onion and bell pepper. Cook until onion just begins to turn translucent, then add the tofu, fish sauce and honey. Toss gently until a fine glaze appears on all sides of the tofu cubes. Serve over rice.
Although lemon grass and fish sauce are key items in many Vietnamese recipes, including this one, Nguyen often substitutes soy sauce for anyone who requests it. "It's still delicious, " he said. "But the fish sauce is more authentic."
One more note for vegetarians: If you do not eat fish sauce, you may also prefer to make your own chili paste, as many store-bought brands include anchovy extract. A good vegetarian recipe can be found at www.globalgourmet.com (search for roasted chili paste).