regular soft or firm tofu
nori sheets (seaweed)
Tempura batter mix
oil for deep frying
In Wisconsin Friday fish frys are big, and as a vegetarian I don't want to miss out. So I came up with this recipe. It is based on the memory of an appetizer served me once at a wonderful macrobiotic restaurant, called the Cauldron, that once existed on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Cut up the tofu into rectangular chunks of any size desired. I like to use soft tofu because its never as soft as they advertise and anyway its slightly gelatinous quality makes a perfect, delicate fish substitute. But you can use firm if you prefer. Blot dry and dab one side with soy sauce.
With a scissors cut the toasted nori into appropriate sizes to match the chunks and have ready (but don't place on the tofu yet or the nori gets too soggy and will threaten to slip off while frying).
Heat the cooking oil to deep frying temp.
Mix tempura batter with cold water as directed on package (or to your liking - thinner is lighter). Adhere the nori pieces, like postage stamps, on to the lightly marinated sides of the tofu chunks (I usually do about 3 or 4 at a time, depending on their size) and dip in tempura batter.
Fry until you think they're done (they should puff a little and rise; if they're golden brown, they're overdone).
I like to make a simple dipping sauce to accompany the fried fish. Just blend a little soy sauce with lemon juice and water (you can also add a bit of toasted sesame oil for some extra flavor).
This is a great snack or main dish and fairly easy. I love the combination of textures, soft and crispy. And the seaweed not only mimics the fish flavor, but the look of fried fish as well.
They are best piping hot fresh, of course, but they can be reheated in an oven.