- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- 2 walnut-size shallots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 fresh red jalapeño chiles, seeded
- 1/4 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (blachan) (see note)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1/3 cup tamarind water (see note)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon plum sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 package (14 ounces) regular or firm tofu
- Cooking oil for frying
- 1/4 pound mung bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup julienned red bell pepper
- Finely chop peanuts in a food processor; set aside. Combine shallots, garlic, chiles, shrimp paste, and water in the food processor; process until smooth; set aside.
- Place a wok over medium-low heat until hot. Add the oil, swirling to coat sides. Add shallot mixture and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Add chopped peanuts, tamarind water, soy sauce, plum sauce, and sugar; stir until smooth. Simmer over low heat, stirring, until sauce thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drain tofu; cut in half lengthwise, then into 4 equal slices crosswise; cut each slice in half diagonally. Place between paper towels and gently press out excess water.
- In a wok, heat oil for deep-frying to 350° over medium-high heat. Add tofu and deep-fry, turning once, until golden on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
- To serve, arrange tofu on a serving plate and garnish with mung bean sprouts and red bell pepper. Reheat sauce just until warm and pour over tofu.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.