Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Aug 17, 2010: Tofu Tuesday

Things have been busy so I haven't had much blogging time, but it's time for another edition of Tofu Tuesday.

I've been fascinated with the cookbook "Land of Plenty" by Fuchsia Dunlop. I've never had Sichuan cuisine, at least not that I know of, but the recipes I've tried in this book have been flavorful and not overwhelmingly spicy hot. I also enjoy the author presenting authentic recipes that haven't been rewritten (read: toned down) for a Western audience.

Today's recipe is "Fish-Fragrant Bean Curd". There's no fish in it, but in Chinese cooking (at least in Cantonese cookin, which is what I'm familiar with) Fish is usually cooked with garlic, ginger and green onions. Since this is a Sichuanese cookbook, the addition of pickled chili peppers is added to give the tofu a fish frangrance.

Fish-Fragrant Bean Curd
3 T Peanut Oil [I used 2 T Canola Oil]
1 T Ginger, finely chopped
1 T Garlic, finely chopped
3 Scallions, white part cut at a steep diagonal
2 T Pickled Chili Paste
8 oz Deep Fried Bean Curd [I had firm tofu so I pan-fried until crispy]
3/4 C Stock [I used chicken buillon]
2 T Soy Sauce
1 t sugar
1/4 t salt [I left the salt out since I used buillon]
Green onion tops for garnish, sliced.

The fish fragrant flavors - starting on the right going left:
Minced garlic and ginger; Green Onion and Pickled Chilies.
This is my first time using pickled chilies so I didn't know what to expect. Tasting them as-is, I taste a salty, slightly tangy chili. The heat is really mild.

Since I didn't have deep fried bean curd, I pan-fried the tofu in a non-stick pan with about 1 or 2 T of oil. Flipping to ensure even browning.

Onto the recipe:

1) Heat the 3 (or 2) T of oil until smoking. Add the garlic, ginger and chilies and saute to release the flavors, about 1 minute. The pepper while mild did get me coughing a little.

2) Add the rest of the ingredients - tofu, stock, soy sauce and sugar.
Turn down the heat to simmer and allow the moisture to evaporate.
With all of the moisture evaporated, the tofu will sizzle again.
Optional: at this point I added the green onion tops to cook for a minute.

The Finished Dish served family style.

A simple dish with a lot of flavor. The chilies did not add a lot of heat, but their presence was a subtle and flavorful. By allowing the stock to reduce, the tofu obtained a light glaze from the reduction.

Overall, a delicious dish.

I served with brown rice and steamed Nappa cabbage, which is typical of a Chinese meal.
Flavor centerpiece dish with vegetables served on the side... All meant to flavor the brown rice.

1 comment:

chef_d said...

This tofu recipe looks very delicious! Thanks for sharing :)