Beancurd sticks doesn’t sound very appetizing (most translations of dried Chinese goods sound a bit questionable), but they are delicious! Really. They are made from the skin that forms on top of soymilk as it’s being cooked, and these ‘beancurd sticks’ are sponges for flavor as well as texturally sound. They have a little bit of chew to them, but are also soft. They soak up whatever liquid they are plunked in.
About a month ago, when it started to finally get warmer and more humid, I started craving mostly room temperature and/or dishes that didn’t require much cooking or braising. Liang ban fu zhu, or marinated beancurd stick, is a product of such cravings. The best part about liang ban food is that you can make it ahead of time and eat it as a side with your meal, so plan ahead!
Liang Ban Fu Zhu
Cold Marinated Beancurd Sticks / Beancurd Stick Salad
About 1.5-2 ounces dried beancurd stick or fu zhu
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch of cilantro (~3 Tbsp, coarsely chopped)
5-6 inner celery stalks (ones with leaves), sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 tsp rice vinegar (the clear kind, not the brown stuff!)
1 tsp sesame oil (a glug)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1) At least 30 minutes before you plan to start assembling, soak the beancurd sticks in room temperature water, or hot water if you are short on time.
2) When the fu zhu has swelled and softened, bring water to a boil. Blanch the beancurd sticks- they only need to be in the boiling water for a minute, then shock them with ice cold water.
3) Drain the fu zhu well and chop into bite-sized sections.
4) Mix all the ingredients together, and adjust for your preference of taste. Cover and refrigerate until you want to eat it. The longer it sits, the better it tastes.
-PLEASE, no soy sauce. Keep the pristine and crisp beige color of the fuzhu!
-Add chopped fresh red chilies if you like it spicy.