Our last trip to Seattle’s International District yielded a number of interesting ingredients, many of which I have yet to try. I did pull out the package of deep fried bean curd last week, and tried out another recipe from – can you guess? – Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook. It was extremely delicious, even though I have a feeling the fried tofu I bought somehow isn’t quite the right kind.
It was in the refrigerator case at Uwajimaya, next to the bean curd sheets. It seemed to be the right product until I opened it, but instead of puffs, the tofu was sort of in layers. It had a way cool chewy texture, though, and nice bean curd-y flavor. We were also really pleased with the sauce, which was completely simple to make and had a surprisingly rich taste, with lots of zing from the ginger and chile. It was rather soupy and made a delicious porridge in the bottom of our rice bowls. I totally want to do this again with the puffy tofu, if I can find it.
Also, this was our first foray into the jar of salted chiles I’ve had fermenting over the last couple of weeks. They were excellent – I’ll tell you more about them soon. You don’t need them for this recipe, though, it actually just calls for fresh hot chile.
Zhangguying red-braised bean curd puffs
Adapted from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop
Dunlop mentions that the recipe could be started by stir-frying pork slices in the wok before continuing with the other ingredients. I bet a little ground pork would be excellent here as well. But it makes a great meat-free meal.
- 2-3 Tbsp lard or peanut oil
- 9 oz deep fried bean curd puffs (or whatever kind of deep-fried tofu you can find)
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 inch ginger, sliced
- 3 cups stock (I used homemade chicken stock)
- soy sauce (to taste)
- 1 fresh chile, sliced (I substituted a spoonful of salted chiles)
- 5 scallions, cut into lengths
- 1 tsp cornstarch and 2 tsp water
Cut the tofu into bite-size chunks. If it’s very oily, pat it a bit with paper towels.
Heat peanut oil or lard in a wok, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry briefly, then pour in the stock. Bring to a boil and add some soy sauce and the tofu. Reduce and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes. Add the chile and scallions and cook for just a moment more. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, bring the sauce in the wok to a full boil, and swirl in the cornstarch mixture. When the sauce has thickened slightly, remove from the heat and serve with rice or noodles.