How to Cook Tofu…If You Don’t Often Cook Tofu

August 31, 2012 § 4 Comments

Marvelous recipe this, and one that I really made up myself. This blog has meant that I do a lot more cooking without recipes these days, but I still believe wholeheartedly in recipes, for how else are you supposed to know how to do anything well? Beats me.

Anyway, buy these tofu “puffs” at your local Asian supermarket and get into it. You want the sauce to be really strong with chili and pepper and garlic (I use about 6 dried chilies but always wish I used more) as the tofu tends to soak up all the flavour.

These are tofu or beancurd puffs:

Perhaps not the healthiest way you can eat tofu, they are, however, reliable and really tasty in a dish like this. They’re great added to soups, as tofu puffs hold liquid in an extremely satisfying way, and squelch when you bite down on them. Does that sound gross? Sorry, I just really want you to try them.

I admit I use quite a few sauces in this recipe, which seems like a lot of new ingredients to buy, but to be honest I consider them all pretty staple pantry items for anything like Chinese cooking. And they all last forever, so there’s no waste.

2 tablespoons oil (any really)
1 large brown onion, thickly sliced
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
3-10 dried red chilis (it’s up to you how spicy you want it)
1/4 cup shaoxing wine, or white wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 cups water
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 bag tofu puffs

Serve with rice.

Makes enough for 4 as a main, or 6 as a side.

Put the oil into a large pan and add the sliced onions and garlic. Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. While you wait for this, gently crush up 2 dried chillies and the black peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. You don’t want a powder, so just a little bashing will suffice.

Once the onion has cooked, add the spice mix, and another 1-7 dried chillies ( I would probably add 7). Allow to cook briefly then add sauces: shaoxing wine, soy sauce, kecap manis, rice wine vinegar, tomato sauce, and the brown sugar. Stir thru then add the three cups of water. Bring to the boil, then turn heat down so that it simmers. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl put the 2 tablespoons of corn flour and add a tablespoon of the liquid from the pan. Mix well so there’s no lumps then pour back into the pan. Turn heat up and watch sauce thicken (yay!). Add the tofu, turn heat back down to medium, and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the tofu is soaked in the sauce.

Serve with rice for dinner, they are also surprisingly delicious cold the next day.


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