Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stir-fried Dried Tofu with Green Pepper 青菜炒豆干

Working in a Chinese takeaway for most of my teens (shhhh, don't tell the vegans), I thought I was pretty up with the what's what in Chinese cooking. Little did I know when I actually made it to China the culinary wonders that awaited me.  There was not a deep fried wonton or black bean beef in sight and sweet and sour, the king amongst most Western style Chinese cuisine, didn't even get a look in amongst all the other amazing flavours.

Perhaps the most unexpected thing about my first encounter with authentic Chinese food though was a group of starter style dishes called Leng Cai 冷菜 (literally 'cold dishes').  Found at the start of nearly every menu, a good deal of them were vegan friendly, and it was here that I discovered the delicious little tofu variety that is Dou Gan 豆干 ( 'bean dry').

A bit of an odd looking tofu in the packet (it looks like perfectly square slabs of squished livers - hmmm, appetizing...), it has a relatively hard texture, with a light marinated skin and is almost sweet in flavour.  I thought I might have seen it for the last time when I said goodbye to China, but thankfully nearly all the Asian grocery stores around Ireland seem to stock it.  Don't pass it by in the store just cos its a little ugly -  like the 3 legged puppy at the pound, you really should just give it a chance (sorry, I've been volunteering at a dog sanctuary recently!), and with this simple little recipe hopefully you will be able to look past it's odd exterior and give it a go.

Stir-fried Dried Tofu with Green Pepper     青菜炒豆干


1 green pepper, sliced thinly
5 squares of dried tofu, sliced into thin slivers
3 star anise
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
A splash of rice vinegar


Heat the oil in a wok and fry the star anise until fragrant.

Add the pepper and fry for a wee bit, then whack in the tofu and all the other ingredients.

Fry for two to three minutes on high heat, then plate up and serve.

It can be eaten hot, but I like it best at room temperature, so if you are doing a few dishes make this one first.

No comments:

Post a Comment