For those on a quest for a dish that mirrors meat’s heartiness, minus the actual meat, this tofu in savory black bean sauce is poised to be your newfound craving. Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or just exploring meat-free marvels, this savory treat promises to captivate. It’s so delectably rich that the lack of meat becomes an afterthought!
Fresh Tofu: A Bite Into Authenticity
A truly enchanting tofu dish starts with, you guessed it, exceptional tofu. I’ve dined on countless tofu dishes, yet those that lingered in my memory were ones made with freshly prepared tofu, rich with genuine soybean flavor. Many of us are accustomed to readily available tofu varieties in supermarkets, but discovering that fresh, rich taste of tofu remains a challenge in places like the USA.
Travel back in time with me to Hubei. Childhood memories vividly paint the bustling atmosphere of a local tofu shop. The artisanal methods used, from boiling soy milk to shaping tofu in wooden molds, were nothing short of enchanting. Today, such traditions flourish in China, feeding locals with an array of tofu delights.
Ah, and the joys of tasting hot, freshly-made tofu sheets tossed with green chilies! Another cherished memory is a visit to a small eatery in Hong Kong. Though the exact location is lost in time, the taste of their tofu in a hot and sour soup is unforgettable. Fresh tofu carries a bold, unique essence of soybean. So when recipes suggest rinsing away its natural aroma, it feels almost sacrilegious. Authentic tofu has a flavor so distinctive, you’ll recognize it with just one bite!
- 1 pound firm tofu
- 3 tablespoons oil (divided)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons fermented black beans (rinsed)
- 2 scallions (separate the whites and greens, then cut into large pieces)
- 3 dried or fresh red chilies (deseeded and chopped, optional)
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- ½ tablespoon light soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (dissolved in 2 tablespoons water)
Steps to Culinary Perfection:
- Prepare tofu by cutting into ¼-inch thick squares. Pat dry with a paper towel and set aside.
- Preheat a clean wok or cast iron skillet until slightly smoking. Lower heat to medium, add 2 tablespoons of oil. Pan-fry tofu until golden brown on both sides. Remove and set aside.
- On medium heat, add the remaining oil. Incorporate garlic, black beans, scallion whites, and chilies into the wok. Adjust chili quantity to your heat preference. Stir and sauté without letting garlic turn brown.
- Introduce the tofu back into the wok. Add Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, sugar, and scallion greens. Stir delicately.
- Before adding the cornstarch mixture, give it a quick stir. Pour into the wok, blending gently until the sauce thickens, caressing the tofu pieces. Serve immediately and savor the flavors!