Tag: Chinese food

Homestyle Sauteed Tofu 家常豆腐 jia1chang2dou4fu3

Chinese people, in my obviously unbiased opinion, are the masters of the humble soybean. They were making soymilk eons before soymilk became popular among Americans. They even use soymilk to make desserts like 豆花!

Dou Hua 豆花
Tofu pudding with brown sugar syrup and taro mochi- from my Taiwan trip in 2011

They are also famous for making stinky tofu, whether it be the steamed/boiled type, or the fried kind, shown here (also from the Taiwan 2011 trip)

臭豆腐 Stinky Tofu
Served with pickled cabbage and carrots to balance out the oil

Chinese people were not the wealthiest of people groups in history, and I think it is because of that that they were able to among many other things, 1) be creative in making delicious dishes with meat as a flavoring agent rather than the star, and 2) use soybeans for all sorts of goodies.

So, today’s recipe features…well, yes, tofu!

 I’ve been browsing xiachufang.com (thanks Lydia, for the tip!) for recipes, and I found this one while searching for vegetarian dishes.

It’s all in Chinese, and my Chinese reading skills are limited to mostly menu reading, so I use google translate’s voice function and pinyin function to read and listen to the author’s directions. I only have the patience and time to translate some of the directions, so I go mostly by instinct for the cooking methods, and pictures if they are there.

Homestyle Sauteed Tofu 家常豆腐 jia1chang2dou4fu3
adapted from Olivia85
As a main dish, this will easily feed 2 with leftovers! I prefer to cook a side vegetable with it.

1 Tbsp dried preserved black beans
1 package firm tofu
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt or 2 pinches
2-3 Tbsp oil
3/4 cup of black fungus (木耳), chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1″ to 1 1/2″ dice
4 stalks celery, sliced on the diagonal into rhombi
2 stalks green onions, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1-2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce (optional)
1-2 tsp sugar


1. Soak your black beans while you slice up your tofu and other ingredients. Use about 2 Tbsp water, or just enough water so that black beans are completely covered by water.

2. Drain the tofu of its water, then wrap it in a clean kitchen or paper towel and apply gentle pressure to get residual water out.

3. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch thick pieces, then into 1 1/2-2 inch squares. If you tofu is old or holey like mine was for the second batch of this recipe 🙁 , slice thicker pieces!

4. Beat the egg with some salt. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a nonstick pan or wok, and in the meantime, put the tofu pieces in the egg. Gently coat the tofu on both sides and place 5-6 pieces on the hot wok at a time.

5. Cook the tofu about 30 seconds to a minute on each side, or until the egg sets up and gets slightly golden. Flip and cook the other side, then remove the tofu to a plate. Repeat these steps for all the tofu.

6. While the wok is on medium heat, add the soaked black beans to the wok along with their soaking water. Use a spatula to break up the pieces of black beans. Alternatively, you could chop the black beans with a knife on a cutting board. Stir the black beans occasionally and cook until all the water has evaporated.

7. Add another tablespoon of oil to the wok, then let the oil warm up. When the oil is hot, add the black fungus. Stir-fry until the fungus is cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Try one if you are unsure if it’s done.

8. Add the bell pepper, celery, and green onion, stirring around until the bell pepper is slightly softened and no longer raw tasting, about 3-4 more minutes.

9. Add the tofu to the wok, omitting any accumulated juices. Heat through and gently mix tofu with vegetables, being careful not to break too many tofu pieces. Season with soy sauces and sugar!

10. Adjust with more of either soy sauce or sugar, using your tastebuds to guide you.

11. Eat with plenty of steamed rice and sauteed cabbage with garlic on the side 🙂

Homestyle Cooked Firm Tofu

 a. For dried preserved black beans, I use this brand- Yang Jiang Preserved Beans(陽江美豉)

There is no substitution for the black beans. Sorry!
b. If you prefer, you can substitute the celery with 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1″ to 1 1/2″ dice. I like the crunchiness that celery retains post-cooking.
c. If you are starting out with dried fungus, soak 1/4 to 1/3 cup in water. For an okay but not great substitution (black fungus has a unique texture), use sliced oyster or king oyster mushrooms.

Traditional Chinese Dumpling Skin 餃子皮

When it comes to making 麵食 or Chinese dough-based foods, there are generally 3 different types of doughs: 1) hot water dough (think scallion pancakes, potstickers and steamed dumplings), 2) cold water dough (dumplings, noodles) and 3) yeast dough (bao zi, man tou, etc).

For Chinese dumpling dough, you want to use cold water dough because you want strong dough that has good gluten development. This will make for chewy dumplings and great elasticity when you are trying to stuff your dumpling with lots of filling! It will also help your dumplings survive the boiling water that you will cook them in. I also have reason to believe that dumpling skin should have substance and some chew to it, whereas potsticker skin, made with hot water dough, should be thin and crispy.

Continue reading to learn how to make homemade dumpling dough.
Dumpling Skin
makes 80-90 dumplings; feel free to divide or multiply as you wish

6 1/2 cups (780 g) flour
1 1/2 cups to 2 cups (414 to 473 g) water

To make the dough:
1) Add flour to a bowl. Use one hand to hold a pair of chopsticks or stirring utensil, and use the other to mix in 1 1/2 cups water. You should start to see clumps of flour/water forming.

2) Add water 1-2 tsp at a time and stir after each addition. I never learned how to make this dough by measuring, so these amounts listed are back calculated from the method you will see in the video and scaled up. If you want to learn the way I did, start out with flour in a bowl and add water slowly, by running a small trickle from your faucet.

3) The goal is to have ~90% of the flour bunched up into clumps of flour and water, and the rest of the flour as grains of flour. Make sure you mix well before each addition of water! If you add too much water, you can balance it out with some flour.

4) When you have reached 90% flour/water clumps, use your fingers to get the dough off the chopsticks, then start to pinch the clumps together into a ball. You should also be able to use this ball of clumps to pick up the stray grains of flour.

5) When you have obtained a ball of dough, knead away! You want dough that is firm but pliable. Knead about 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is quite homogeneous. Cover with a slightly damp paper towel, or a plate, and rest for at least 30 minutes.

To roll into skins:

6) Knead rested dough until it is completely homogenous and smooth. Use a few sprinkles of flour if it is sticking. Take about 2 fistfuls of dough at a time to work with, keeping the rest of the dough covered.

7) Poke a hole in the middle of the dough and start making a donut shape. Cut the donut to break it into a circular rope; roll into a log about 1 1/4 inch in diameter.

8) Use a bench scraper to cut the dough into roughly 1 inch wide chunks of dough, making sure to rotate the dough a quarter turn each time a cut is made. Coat the chunks generously in flour.

9) Turn the chunks onto one side and rotate to make a Rolo-shaped piece of dough. Do the same to the other side, then flatten into a puck slightly larger than a quarter.

10) Use a rolling pin to roll into skins, making sure to keep your thumb on the center to prevent the rolling pin from rolling out the center.

11) Put some flour on the skin so that it won’t stick to the other skins, or wrap dumplings immediately after skins are rolled out.

To wrap:
Refer to the video, or use the style your parents or Chinese friends taught you. 

Please Watch my videos for a better showing and explanation! Please excuse the editing; it’s my first time (obviously)!

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