It's not that often I get to experience people arguing first handedly other than, my own arguments that I have with those who happens to share a slightly different views from time to time, and even rarer, to hear it in Korean.I kind of got sucked into it and sort of listen to it without realising that I was, indeed, listening. I listened while pretending to shop, very slowly. As if, I had an extensive shopping list that I'd forgotten to bring it with me. As if, I was trying my damn hardest to jog my memories back while browsing every single items on the shelve thinking, 'oh, was this it?', when actually, the focuses were on the other side of the counter where much more fun things, and of course this would be for their expenses unfortunately, were happening.
I think the lady was a bit embarrassed with the whole situation and she kept telling her husband to stop.
From the previous conversations I had with her husband, I know she is his wife and this is their shop. It is fairly small grocery store but specialises mostly Korean and some Japanese products that will bring home to any Korean.
Funny thing was though, it reminded me of my parents.
It took me straight back to my parents' shop where they worked together for their dream, where they bickered with no ends, and where they fought hard for success.
My dad used to tell my mum to stop, stop talking. He is a man with very few words and he never really liked the tedious arguments. But she would go on and on, until my dad looses his temper. My dad would just walk away.
I used to hate looking at his back. With his shoulders all crouched and his feet so heavy, he looked ever so sad, helpless and tired.
The lady at the grocery store, shyly apologised for the atmosphere.
I smiled, and said it was all okay.
Hot Chilli Pepper Tofu
1 pack of firm tofu, cubed
1 tbsp corn flour
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 inch ginger, chopped
1 fiery chilli, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp corn syrup
1 tsp sesame oil
pinch of chilli powder
pinch of toasted sesame seeds
some finely chopped spring onion
some vegetable oil
salt and pepper
I love tofu. It is one of those ingredient that carries flavours very well and depends on how you cook them, it changes its texture from soft and tender to crisp and crunchy.
This dish is easy to prepare and simple flavour combinations of hot and sweet works wonders.
First of all, pat dry tofu before you cube them to remove excess water and coat them lightly with corn flour. Add pinch of salt and generous helpings of freshly cracked black and white pepper.
Heat some oil into the non stick frying pan over medium to high heat, and gently shallow fry them until golden. This should take around 5mins. Remove cooked tofu cubes and set aside.
Use the same pan, heat some oil and gently fry the chopped onion, garlic, ginger and chilli until onions are softened. I tend to add half the amount of chillies at the beginning to introduce some chilli flavour into the oil and add the other half at the end of the cooking process to keep the freshness.
Once onions are softened, add tofu, soy, sugar and chilli powder along with water. Bring them up to boil and simmer on low heat until tofu has soaked up all the juices. This simmering process allows tofu to take on the flavours of the sauce.
Stir in the corn syrup which will give lovely sheen to the dish and drizzle sesame oil and seeds for the gorgeous nutty flavour.
Sprinkle finely chopped spring onions and dig in.
I, in my heart, whispered.
After all, it is living, living the life together in the thick of it all.