Seen first in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, adapted from Some Like it Hot: 200 Spicy Vegetarian Recipes from Around the World by Robin Robertson (Plume, 1998). We love to make this dish in the summertime when the Thai basil is waist-high.
This recipe serves two. I recommend doubling the recipe. It makes wonderful leftovers, and even people who claim they don’t like tofu have been known to eat this dish.
1 pound extra-firm tofu
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch strips
2 Thai Dragon chilies or jalapeños cut into strips (if you really do like it hot)
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons chili paste (I use Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce)
3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 cup loosely packed Thai (or whatever kind you have) fresh basil leaves
Freshly cooked jasmine rice (make with 1 cup of rice for two people)
Drain tofu and cut into ½-inch slices. Place tofu slices on a baking sheet lined with several thicknesses of paper towels. Top tofu with another layer of paper towels and press on the slices to expel excess water. Cut pressed tofu slices into ½-inch cubes and set aside.
Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add onion, peppers, and garlic. Stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until onion begins to soften.
Add chili paste, tamari, fish sauce, sugar, and tofu and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until tofu is heated through.
Add basil and cook a few seconds longer before serving over jasmine rice.