Friday, 8 October 2004

Peking-style Fried Bean Curd

A work colleague of mine requested that I post vegetarian dishes and here is one. As usual this is courtesy of my esteemed Chinese Cuisine cookbook by Huang Su-Huei. This is my kind of recipe - very simple, very easy to do and very few ingredients. It originally called for the tofu to be fried in a wok but I always do it in a non-stick pan and just drizzle a little oil. It works perfectly.

Tofu, also known as soy bean curd or tokwa, is made by curdling soy bean milk. Curdling is aided by calcium sulfate - a naturally occuring mineral. After curdling, the mixture is then pressed to form tofu. So essentially, tofu is soy bean cheese.

Here in the west, there are two types of tofu - the firm one (this comes in blocks) and the silken one (called taho in Phils.). Although when we were in Hong Kong, they have an even firmer type of tofu which are in rounded pieces similar to buffalo mozarella except the former is flatter and squarish in shape. The extra firm and firm ones are good for general cooking. The silken one has a very soft, smooth and creamy texture and is used a lot on desserts.

Also in Hong Kong, there are hawkers who fry and sell preserved tofu right on the street. The problem is they f*&%$ng stink big time! Oh, I swear you could smell it from a mile back! This is very prevalent in the area of Battery Path going to St. Paul's church - uggh! However a lot of people I know (Chinese, Gweilos, even Pinoys) insist that they taste great. Must be the durian syndrome in them.

Peking-style Fried Bean Curd

3 pieces of 2 1/2- inch square bean curd (tofu)
1/2 cup flour
1 egg - beaten
1 Tbsp green onion - chopped
1 Tbsp ginger root - chopped

1 tsp cooking wine
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup stock (or 1/2 stock cube dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water)
  1. Combine ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  3. Cut the bean curd into 1/2-inch thick slices. Coat with flour and then dip into the egg.
  4. Fry bean curds over medium heat for 1 minute each side or until golden brown.
  5. Wipe clean the frying pan and sprinkle half of the green onions and ginger in the pan.
  6. Arrange the fried bean curds on top then pierce the bean curds with a fork to allow liquid to seep through.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the green onion and ginger on top of the bean curds and pour in the sauce. Turn on heat and bring to boil.
  8. Turn down the heat to low and cook uncovered until almost all the liquid is absorbed by the bean curd.

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