Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tofu and mixed vegetables in a black bean sauce

One of my recent favorite comfort foods is a tofu stir-fry with a fermented black bean sauce. It's bursting with flavor and very quick to put together. I use Lee Kum Kee's Garlic black bean sauce, which my mom also uses over in America, so perhaps it's easy to find at Asian Markets globally.

The tofu is delightfully deep-fried. I can't get myself to deep-fry and luckily I can purchase it already done. It is pleasingly chewy to have it deep-fried -- one would never think tofu had that kind of potential. I always try to use colorful vegetables and make sure not to overcook them. And it is most important to have spring onions (green onions) in this or any other Chinese dish.

Mixed vegetables and tofu in black bean sauce
Serves 4

2 tbs canola oil
1 small onion, sliced
3 spring onions, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp ginger, chopped
1 green bell pepper, cubed
A handful of baby corn, sliced
1 large carrot, chopped into matchsticks
A handful of dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water and chopped
200g fried tofu cubes

5 tbs Lee Kum Kee garlic black bean sauce
2 1/2 cups water
1 tbs corn starch
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs vinegar
1 - 2 tbs chili garlic sauce (Vietnamese but you could use Sambal)
1/2 tbs sugar

1. In a wok or large pan, heat oil on medium heat and saute all the vegetables (but leave out shiitake mushrooms and a bit of spring onions for garnish). Do not overcook.

2. In another pan, add shiitake mushrooms, black bean sauce, water, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce and sugar and cook on medium-low heat. Dissolve corn starch in 2 tbs cold water and add to the sauce. Once it comes to a boil and thickens, taste for salt and if you would like it tangier, add more vinegar.

3. Add the sauce and tofu to the vegetables and bring to a last boil so that everything is heated through. Garnish with green onions and serve with brown rice, or a mix of brown and white rice (boil brown rice for 10 minutes and then add raw white rice and water and cook as normal).

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