Braised Tofu with Spinach

I received a text message the other day from a friend who had been watching Gok Cooks Chinese on Channel 4. It was meant to be the recipe for his tofu omelette, but was somewhat garbled. All I could work out was to braise the tofu in a mix of sauces then place on top of an omelette. From the typos I couldn’t work out what went in the omelette and what went in the braise. So i thought I would make my own interpretation, giving it a bit of a Busaba Eathai feel by adding spinach. The first mouthful and you are hit with the spiciness of the chili bean sauce, then the other flavours take control and it was gone all too quickly.

I would imagine this would go well with some stir fried noodles and beansprouts. I ate it with oven chips.

Serves 2

1 x 220g block of firm tofu
2 tablespoons chili bean paste (available in Chinese supermarkets and also in Waitrose)
3-4 tablespoons vegetarian oyster sauce (aka vegetarian stir fry sauce)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 large bunches spinach
2 big portions of oven chips – the skinnier the better
1-2 tablespoons sunflower oil

Heat the oven and put the chips in as per the instructions on the pack.

Halve the block of tofu, wrap in kitchen roll and press some of the liquid out gently.

Take a small bowl and mix the chili bean sauce, oyster sauce and cider vinegar. Put the tofu in and make sure it is covered with the sauce.

Take a frying pan, add the oil and place over a high heat. When very hot, take the tofu steaks from the marinade and place in the pan – be careful here as the chili marinade on the tofu will most likely spit and coat you and your cooker in chili sauce spray. Fry for 2 minutes then turn. After another 2 minutes add the spinach leaves (I left them whole) and the remainder of the marinade. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and leave for 5-8 minutes until the spinach is wilted.

Serve hot with the chips which soak up the chili sauce beautifully.

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