I first tasted the Ginger Tofu at this small Cambodian restaurant in San Jose called “Chez Sovan”, It is a small dingy place, very much a hole in the wall but the food is just amazingly delicious, The chef not only prepares the food but also serves it right to you with a big smile on his face, The spices are just right and immediately hit the right spots.
I have since then been looking for a recipe which comes close to his food and i think the recipe below comes very close.
This is such a versatile recipe, I have made it with catfish, chicken and tofu at separate occasions and it just tastes great with either of them. Ginger is the STAR of this recipe so it goes without saying that if you don’t like ginger then this is not for you. Ginger being the theme of this mouth-watering recipe needs to be added not just to flavor but in a much bigger quantity hence making this dish much more suitable for a chilly fall or winter evening and it also works wonders if you have the sniffles, The ginger root relieves cold and cough symptoms. So there, now we have more than just the taste to look forward to in this recipe.
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1.5 cups peeled, julienned ginger
1 1/2 pounds catfish fillets, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (Replace this with either chicken or tofu)
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce (omit if making a vegetarian version with tofu)
1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
1 big red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 bunch scallions or green spring onions, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
Salt and black pepper to taste
20 – 25 minutes
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and cook, stirring, until brown and crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the fish, stir gently until thoroughly mixed with the ginger and cook for about 7 minutes. Add the sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce and salt and stir well. Stir in the onion and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the red pepper and scallions and cook for another 2 minutes, then serve.
If using chicken, after adding to the ginger, cook for about 10 minutes.
If using Tofu, In a separate pan slightly fry tofu in 2-3 tbsp oil to make it brown from both sides. When ginger is ready, add the fried tofu and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes
Longteine de Monteiro and Katherine Neustadt
The Elephant Walk Cookbook