red cooked tofu


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.

fried tofu

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.

red cooked fried tofu

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.

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