Thursday, August 16, 2012

Silken Tofu with Black Bean Sauce

Tofu in black bean sauce is one of my favorite ways of preparing tofu. Chinese fermented black beans form the back bone of the sauce. They are called dou chi in Mandarin and dul see in Cantonese and are a staple of Southern Chinese cooking. These beans are packed in salt and fermented for a long time, which gives it that umami and that does wonders for tofu. Uncooked the beans smell musty, but don’t let that deter you from trying them – coz once cooked they are delicious. I like soaking them in some warm water to cut out the excess salt. But some chefs don’t do that.

This black bean sauce is a superior alternative to the bottle variety which lacks depth and distinction of flavors. You could use this sauce to cook fish and meats as well. If you like your food spicy, then a ¼ teaspoon of chili flakes would give it an additional kick especially when added to meat dishes.

Silken Tofu with Black bean sauce

12 oz tofu (Extra firm silken tofu works best - I use Mori-Nu)

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 ½ tablespoon rice wine or sherry
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoon cornflour

2 ½ tablespoon fermented black beans
1 tablespoon fresh peeled ginger minced
1 ½ tablespoon garlic minced
1 ½ - 2 tablespoons spring onions chopped (both white and green parts separated - 1 spring onion)
2 tbsp shallots minced
1 tablespoon canola oil

150 ml water i.e. 3/4th cup
  1. Drain and cut the tofu into 1 inch pieces. Mix all the ingredients for the tofu and pour over it. Mix it gently so as not to break the tofu pieces.
  2. Soak the black beans in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and chop them coarsely.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed non-stick skillet with 1 tablespoon canola oil.  Add the ginger, garlic, spring onions (white parts only), and shallots. Stir fry over high for a minute. Add the chopped black beans and continue to stir fry over medium heat for 30 seconds - the black beans should not burn. 
  4. Add the tofu with the marinade and stir fry over high heat till the mixture is sticky - another minute or so. Add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer till the sauce is thick. Sprinkle the green parts of the spring onion and serve with steamed rice.
Serves 3

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