Tofu with Tomatoes and Thai Basil

4 or 5 blocks of Chinese tofu (approx. 4" x 4" x 1")

2 cups of cherry tomatoes, larger ones slice in half, smaller ones left whole

1/2 cup of Thai basil leaves

1/4 cup minced shallots

3 cloves of garlic, minced

scant 1 cup of water

2 TBS soy sauce

1 TBS rice vinegar

2--3 tsp sugar


1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup rice flour

2 TBS corn starch

1/2 tsp salt


oil for frying

Cut the tofu in 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes.  Drain on paper towels.  Make a batter by mixing together the flours, corn starch, salt, and water in a bowl until the consistency of heavy cream.

Heat oil to the depth of 1 1/2 inches to 350º F in a wok or other vessel. Working in batches, dip the cubes of drained tofu in the batter and then gently fry in the hot oil, stirring to keep the pieces from sticking together.  Each batch should take about two minutes to produce golden brown cubes that retain custard-like centers.  Remove the fried cubes and drain on paper towels while frying the rest of the tofu.

Remove all but several tablespoons of oil from the wok.  Fry the shallots and garlic until just softened.  Add the cherry tomatoes and fry for a minute or two.  Mix together the water, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar.  Taste and adjust for a sweet/sour/salty tang.  Add this to the tomatoes and shallots and increase the heat so the mixture is boiling vigorously.  After the mixture has reduced some, stir in the tofu.  When the liquid is absorbed and the tofu is heated through, stir in the basil leaves.  Remove from heat and serve.