As an avid traveler, I make an effort to try street food in every country I go to, staying away from the main tourist attractions most of the time. Not all the time, but enough so I can really get a sense of what local food tastes like where ever I am. Not local food trying to appeal to Americans and other tourists- thats what I don’t want to indulge in. Although Hawaii is a part of the United States, its far enough from the mainland to have its own flavors and flare. I recently saw an epsiode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on Netflix that showed a shrimp truck on the island of Ohau and they served a lemon, garlic, butter shrimp dish with a side of coconut rice that looked amaze. It inspired me to make a vegan version with fried tofu. Although, my boyfriend would have preferred the shrimp version, he still liked this alot. Its rather simple and very satisfying.
I have some notes in the cooking directions about how to prep the tofu so it crisps up in the frying pan so be sure to take those extra steps otherwise the tofu will be soft and most likely soggy. The trick is to give it a warm salt water soak for 7-10 minutes, then using paper towels remove as much moisture as possible. Slice it into pieces and pat dry again. If you skip this part your tofu will. not. be. awesome. So do this pre party tofu step.
This recipe is savory, sweet, bright, crunchy, filling.
For the Rice: Add the coconut milk and coconut water to a medium size pot. Bring to a low boil and then add the rice, salt, and coconut oil. Bring back to a bowl, then cover and reduce to a lower simmer. Depending on your rice and the package instructions, simmer about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a form.
*Note that rice cooks differently but this method works well for me.
For the Tofu: FIrst, prep your tofu for frying. Full up a medium bowl with 4-5 cups are warm water and dissolve a teaspoon or two of pink salt in the water and put the tofu in for 7-10 minutes.
While to tofu soaks, create the marinade by preparing your ingredients as stated above and putting the olive oil, lemon juice, galric, parsley, flour, cayenne and pepper in a medium bowl.
Them remove the tofu from the salt bath and using paper towels, pat/press/squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Then slice the tofu in to small rectangles (or however you want) and using paper towels pat dry some more. You want to remove as much liquid as possible.
Add the sliced tofu into the bowl and gently mix well with a spoon to evenly coat the tofu. You could also add this to a plastic ziplock instead. Let the tofu marinate for atleast 30 minutes.
Then gently spa a cast iron skillet (preferrably) with coconut oil. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tofu from the marinade and lay out the tofu in an even layer. Heat to medium, and brown on the first side for about 7 minutes. Carefully lift the edges of one piece to check and see if it is getting crispy. Once golden brown, flip over and fry up on the remaining side.
gently transfer to a bowl. Then in the same skillet, melt butter and caremlize the garlic that is left in the pan from the tofu until golden brown. Pour on top of the tofu right before serving. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a pinch of fresh chopped parsley.