Tofu with Ginger and Black Bean Sauce
By Periplus Editors, Healthy and Simiple Asian Recipes
There are probably as many ways to prepare hong shao (red-braised) tofu, as there are cooks in China. This traditional method of cooking tofu, which by itself is a very bland food, allows the manifold flavors of the seasoning and sauce to penetrate the tofu, rendering this potent source of vegetable protein into a delicious dish. Each time you cook this dish, try a slightly different blend of flavors and proportions until you discover the style that best suits your taste.
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
5–6 dried black Chinese
1 cake (10 oz/300 g) firm tofu
3 tablespoons oil
1–2 dried red chilies, cut in half and deseeded (optional)
4–5 large cloves garlic, smashed
6 slices ginger
1 whole star anise pod (optional)
6 green onions (scallions), cut into sections
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon black or yellow bean paste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 cup (125 ml) water (or use chicken stock)
1 Soak the mushrooms in warm water for about 20 minutes to soften, then drain. Remove and discard the stems, cut the caps in half and set aside.
2 Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes. Place in a colander to drain.
3 Combine all the Sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
4 Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet until hot, but not smoking. Add the chilies (if using) then the tofu, turning gently with a spatula until all the pieces are coated with oil and shaking the pan occasionally to prevent sticking. Fry until the tofu just begins to turn yellow but is not brown or crispy.
5 Add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, star anise and half the green onions and stir-fry gently for 1 to 2 minutes.
6 Add the Sauce and stir carefully to blend. Cover the wok, lower the heat and braise for 5 to 6 minutes, adding a few tablespoons of water if the Sauce becomes too dry.
7 Add the remaining green onions to the wok and transfer to a serving dish.