Friday, September 2, 2011

Fried Tofu with Flowering Chives

There are two places I like to go when I visit any city.  One is the bookstore, the other the supermarket.  Those two places give a good feel of the city and what the tastes of its population lean towards.  A city that only has a bookstore stocked almost entirely of popular generic fiction and spiritual/financial/home decorating self-help tomes is likely to have a supermarket that has preformed taco shells and rice in the "Ethnic" aisle.  A proper bookstore is a place one can lose oneself in, drifting from find to find, discovering books and authors scattered throughout the aisles, one discovery leading to the next.

While Indonesian bookstores (and really there is only one major chain that operates throughout the country--Gramedia) have limited offerings in the realm of fiction (the government having long suppressed critical voices--although it is now possible to buy copies of Pramoedya Ananta Toer's novels in Indonesia), the cookbook selection is fairly extensive.  A large number of the cookbooks have a slant towards home industry--collections of snacks and variations that can be sold for profit.  The rest of the cookbooks tend to be for the home cooks who wants to expand their familiarity with traditional Indonesian dishes.

As many Indonesian families employ maids to help with cooking and cleaning, a lot of Indonesians grow up not learning how to cook.  A maid from Central Java is going to cook soto ayam different from a maid from West Java.  My father-in-law (who is from East Java) is famous for complaining about the food when he stayed with his son in Bandung, West Java.  Nothing ever tasted right to him. The cookbooks with 30 variations on soto help the beleaguered housewife soothe her family's tastes.

One of the cookbooks I picked up during our stay in Indonesia this summer is 240 Resep Hindangan Sehari-Hari untuk 2 Bulan (240 Recipes of Dishes for Every Day for 2 Months).  The book presents four recipes for each day, one for breakfast and the other three for lunch/dinner, with photos.  It has a number of recipes that look promising and I'll be posting in the coming months.  The coconut milk used in this one gives the fried tofu a lushness that is not usually associated with tofu.  I served it with Lingham's Hot Sauce with Garlic, but a Thai sweet chili sauce would also work, and I think Vietnamese ginger-lime sauce (nuoc mam gung) would be really nice with this.

Fried Tofu with Flowering Chives
(Tahu Goreng Tepung)

1 large block of regular tofu cut into 1-inch cubes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour (do not use glutinous rice flour)
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
1 large egg, beaten
10 flowering chives, cut into 1-inch lengths

oil for frying

In a large bowl mix the flours, salt, and pepper.  Whisk in the coconut milk and beaten egg until you have a fairly smooth batter.  Stir in the chives and about a third of the tofu cubes.

Heat the oil in a wok.  With a fork or slotted spoon remove pieces of tofu that have been covered in the coconut batter and carefully lower into the hot oil.  Gently fry until all the pieces are a golden brown.  Remove  and drain on paper towels.  Repeat until all of the tofu pieces have been battered and fried.  As with all fried foods, these are best served hot.


  1. Tahu goreng and sambal garlic-kecap are classic pairing for me. So this version of tahu goreng will be dipped in it too ;-)
    Thanks for sharing the "new" recipes, D.

  2. Tuty,
    I hope you'll enjoy this when you try it. It's nice to know that someone is following the blog.

  3. I love eating this kind of fried tofu. Indeed, we do the same adding coconut milk to the batter. I have been seeing your post lately and you used "cobek". I miss that cobek. All I have here is lumpang (Thai style mortar and pestle)


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