Frozen-and-thawed tofu fried to golden-brown perfection and coated with the quintessential Taiwanese “Three Cup” sauce. An easy vegan Taiwanese recipe, authentic to me.
“Three Cup” refers to the traditional Taiwanese recipe, which includes equal parts soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Some cooks today deviate from the traditional proportions, but I personally love it. Perhaps it is closest to what I remember eating as a kid.
The sauce is sticky, salty and slightly sweet with a deep caramelized flavor. Taiwanese people use the sauce in a variety of stir-fry dishes, and they mostly involve poultry or seafood. In addition to the condiments, “Three Cup” sauce would not be complete without basil. Basil gives the sauce an amazing peppery flavor and a mint-y undertone.
The technique is easy, but will seriously elevate your tofu dishes ten-fold. You simply freeze the tofu, thaw it completely, freeze it again, then thaw it completely again. This can be done without taking the tofu out of its packet.
What happens when you freeze the tofu is that the liquid inside the tofu crystallizes and forms large clumps. And when you thaw the tofu, the ice crystals will melt but the space they have taken up will remain there, creating many cracks and tears on the tofu. Doing this process two times simply magnifies its effect.