Bich Nga’s Spicy Tofu in Tomatoes and Herb Sauce 

1 lb. extra firm tofu, cubed, drained and dried
teaspoon salt
teaspoon black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon corn starch or rice powder
2-3 tablespoons minced shallot or cup chopped onion
1 can 14 oz. crushed tomatoes
teaspoon hot pepper flakes
1-2 teaspoons fish sauce or soy sauce
cup broth or water
1-2 teaspoon sugar, depending on the tartness of the tomatoes
cup mixed scallion and cilantro

In a bag, mix salt, black pepper, cayenne, garlic and corn starch. Add tofu to the spice bag and mix well. Use just enough oil to create a thin coat on a large non-stick skillet and brown the tofu on all sides. Remove and set aside.

In the same skillet, stir fry the shallots until fragrant. Add crushed tomatoes, hot pepper flakes, fish sauce, broth, and sugar. Bring to a boil. Return tofu to the skillet. Mix well to coat in sauce and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with scallion and cilantro. Top with fresh ground black pepper. It would be a crime to serve this dish with anything other than rice.

Tips: Wait until the skillet gets very hot before drizzling oil and do not add herbs until the pan has been removed from the heat. This dish can be made ahead of time. Like any braised dish, the taste will improve with time.