Tofu gets instantly more appealing if you fry it! I suppose this holds true for most thing. But unlike everything, tofu still has claim to health post-fry. This is a very balanced appetizer... the mandarin oranges compliments the salty nam plah and the spicy chili crust; the bite from the cashews balances the silky tofu.
Serve this as an appetizer with a piece of sushi ginger to eat at the end to clear the palate for the main course.
1/2 block firm tofu, cut into 4 rectangles
1 TBSP nam plah
1 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP juice from mandarin oranges
1 garlic clove
1 small jar mandarin oranges
1 TBSP coursely chopped cashew nuts (toasted, if desired)
1 tsp finely chopped cilantro
Cover the tofu liberally with a 2 part chili and 1 part ginger mix. Pan fry the crusted tofu in hot olive oil until a golden crust forms (about 4 minutes per side). Halfway through cooking the second side, add garlic, nam plah, lime juice and juice from mandarin oranges. Reduce by half.
Transfer tofu to plate. Top liberally with oranges and nuts. Add cilantro to taste. Pour sauce over top of dish.