Tofu Ball & Peanut Sauce, Chopstix
I cannot order this dish with a straight face. Maybe I watched too much Beavis & Butthead as an impressionable youth. Or I’m just perpetually immature. But I’m usually one of the people at the table that’s most likely to say “Hehe, she said balls”.
When the waiter asks what I want, I try very hard to casually tell him I would like the Tofu Ball with Peanut Sauce. And yes, it is on the menu without the ‘s’ (ball vs. balls? hm…), so I feel like I’m mocking an East Asian accent when I say it out loud. Which I am not.
You can opt for the same thing with tempeh or seitan instead of tofu, but I like the tofu here because it’s lighter than the other two. The peanut sauce is delicious but heavy, and needs something to balance it out. You also get big chunks of veggies in with the tofu. Usually carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, snow peas, and whatever else is in season. My only complaint is that the veggies are often quite big, and cooked exactly long enough, so still very crunchy. I have a big mouth only when it comes to the verbal garbage I have been known to let out of my face, but my mouth is not actually that big, so the size of these veggies can be intimidating to try to work around. Especially with chopsticks.
The tofu is dipped in batter and deep fried, giving it a light crispy crust, tossed into a gigantic bowl with veggies, drowned in peanut sauce at the perfect combination of sweet and salty, and then sprinkled with chopped peanuts. Oh, and you get a side of rice (you can switch white rice for brown rice, which I usually recommend, but for this dish, you’ll probably want a lighter version). Be prepared to ask for a to-go box.
When The Man and I go out to Chopstix, we usually order two different dishes and trade back and forth. Especially with this one, because it’s quite filling. It’s great to balance it with a light noodle bowl like Ap Chao Tofu & Veggies. I always start off with the Thai iced tea (sweet and lots of caffeine, so beware), and his usual is a Sapporo because you have to drink that or a Kirin with Asian food. I think it’s a law somewhere.