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all about Bean curd


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I like bean curd, (however I'm sort of a novice).

At home I like tofu cut in cubes, then stir fried in oil to brown them a bit. Then remove from pan so they don't crumble apart while other ingredients are stir fried, and then added back in towards the end, drizzled with a little sesame oil and hot chile oil.

I also recently enjoyed a a dish which included bean curd sheet. It was paper thin sheets of bean curd rolled or wrapped in kind of a small cake form. It was served with sugar pea vines & black mushrooms. Very yummy.

I've recently started buying a local (in Seattle) fresh made tofu. It comes in 3 versions... soft, firm, and already fried, and they are all good.

Edited by Blue Heron (log)
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The koreans have a type of banchan where they take very firm slices of tofu, pan fry them, and then put them in the same spicy pickling sauce they use for kimchi and let them marinate. I find this dish highly addictive.

Another favorite dish of mine is the Tofu Nyonya they serve at the Penang chain of malaysian restaurants in the NY/NJ area -- this is cubes of firm tofu that are fried and then stir fried with lots of fresh basil, ground pork, hot chiles and some kind of spicy condiment. I think they also use those really small shrimp too.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

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Some favourite home-style ways to cook with tofu.

1. Silken tofu:

a)good in clear soups. garnish with scallions.

b)Alternatively, steam the tofu for 5 minutes, discard the water at the base of the steaming dish. In another pan, brown shallots, garlic and chilli slices (deseeded for less heat) in some sesame + canola oil. When done, add some soya sauce, and turn off heat. Pour contents over the steamed tofu. The fragrant oil/soya flavours the tofu.

2. Hard tofu (tau-kwa in Singapore):

a) slice. marinate in teriyaki sauce and pan-fried.

b) slice or cube. deep fry. serve with chilli sauce

c) cook ma-po tofu

d) cube. toss in wok with preserved cabbage, roasted panuts and diced long beans.

3. egg-tofu ( yellow with a cylindrical shape): not my favourite, so i don't cook this at all.

4. Bean curd sheet:

a) make a sweet soup with barley, gingko nuts and rock sugar

b) make lo-han vegetarian dish. Deep fry and put aside. Braise with wood ear fungus, shitake, cabbage and rice vermicelli in a fermented bean curd sauce (equal parts red "nam-yee" and yellow Fu-yee pastes)

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Don't need to to anything to bean curd to make it taste good, it does taste good all on its own! :biggrin:

Of course living in Japan i have some wonderful tofu to choose from.

Favorites:

hiyayakko-- cold tofu topped with anything, soy-ginger-scallions, kojuchang based sauces, various types of seaweed

agedashidofu-- deep fried tofu with a soy based sauce and various condiments

mabodofu-- one the best tofu dishes

tofu is wonderful in any type of stir fry, any soup, even braised, another favorite is shira-ae, sort of like a "salad dressing"

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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In NY I got my bulk tofu on Mott Street. About a block and a half south of Canal, left side, red sign, before Peking Duck. Great for fresh rice noodles (for chow fun, pad s'eeyu) and other little goodies. In SF, there's a place on Jackson, just above Grant (I think). South side of the street, no English.

Edited by Stone (log)
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My absolute favorite bean curd dish is Ma po dofu (bean curd with pork, black beans, chilis and Sichuan peppercorns). I also love home style bean curd where it is cubed and sautéed crisp before being combined with the pork and chiles. As for buying it, there is a great store on the corner of Grand and Bowery in Manhattan's Chinatown. Until recently they used to sell it (either soft or firm) straight out of the tub and it was always very fresh. I suppose the food police caught up with them and now it's packaged and sold inside - which is fine, but as it has no preservatives, I would like to see them date their packages.

Ruth Friedman

Ruth Friedman

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This may sound heretical, but one of my favorite uses for tofu is in chili con carne. Freeze it; thaw it; crumble and drain. Then use it as you would ground meat. Not very Asian; sorry, I'm a fusionista at heart. :blush:

But I also cube very firm tofu and add it to Thai soups.

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Kristin, you go girl.

Ed, I just can't get past the "how do you make it taste good" sub-title.

edit:

Suzanne, frozen and thawed tofu is known as "Koya tofu."

Edited by Jinmyo (log)

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Ah, tofu, how do I love thee.

Just now eating a tofu croquette, panko coated deep fried curry flavored soy goodness. Other vegetables are minced and added to provide texture and flavor, but the tofu is the deal breaker.

Good, clean, fresh tofu, though, should be enjoyed for what it is. Chilled with some scallions and ginger and shoyu (although I prefer ponzu) to really taste the flavor of the bean curd.

So many dishes try to disguse bean curd, turn it into meat. Why, I will never understand.

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The recent spring weather caused me to neglect my wintertime favorite, yu-dofu.

A simple dish of tofu simmered in kombu broth and dipped in ponzu.

The quality of the bean curd is the most important.

Oh, and also ganmodoki in oden, or on its own with grated daikon and soy sauce.

Perhaps this is too japan-oriented for the chinese forum? I'm too new to really know?

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  • 2 years later...

One of my local Asian groceries sells black bean curd as well as bright yellow bean curd. Both are labelled 'Singapore style', and are pressed bean curd.

Well, I've heard of sweet black bean curd, but this stuff isn't sweet. And I've heard of black bean curd from various parts of China (isn't this a specialty of Shanghai and surroundings?) but I've never heard of it from Singapore.

BTW, apologies if the Shanghai statement is really wrong. I had searched for it earlier on the internet, but can't remember the details. And I was just trying to search for it in Chinese, but Google wasn't cooperating with my Chinese at the moment - kept searching for 'heiheidoufu' even though I'd typed in 'heidoufu'. Weird...

So, is anyone familiar with pressed, unsweet, yellow or black bean curd? Any suggestions for what to do with it?

I'm presuming one could just treat it as you would any pressed bean curd?

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nope

but i once saw a cooking program on the chinese channel

where these monks in this temple were burying chunks of bean curd into the side of this ice mountain and letting it freeze in the snow. They would dig them out a few weeks later and place them in a warm room where they allowed it to go mouldy! :shock:

what was left was a black mouldy block they they steamed and ate

its meant to be a delicacy although looked prtty scary to me :blink:

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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One of my local Asian groceries sells black bean curd as well as bright yellow bean curd. Both are labelled 'Singapore style', and are pressed bean curd.

Well, I've heard of sweet black bean curd, but this stuff isn't sweet. And I've heard of black bean curd from various parts of China (isn't this a specialty of Shanghai and surroundings?) but I've never heard of it from Singapore.

BTW, apologies if the Shanghai statement is really wrong. I had searched for it earlier on the internet, but can't remember the details. And I was just trying to search for it in Chinese, but Google wasn't cooperating with my Chinese at the moment - kept searching for 'heiheidoufu' even though I'd typed in 'heidoufu'. Weird...

So, is anyone familiar with pressed, unsweet, yellow or black bean curd? Any suggestions for what to do with it?

I'm presuming one could just treat it as you would any pressed bean curd?

Hmm..sorry, never heard of yellow or black tofu. Maybe they used different beans than the regular soybean tofu or maybe they add a flavoring like black sesame? But this is just a guess on my part.

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One of my local Asian groceries sells black bean curd as well as bright yellow bean curd. Both are labelled 'Singapore style', and are pressed bean curd.

Well, I've heard of sweet black bean curd, but this stuff isn't sweet. And I've heard of black bean curd from various parts of China (isn't this a specialty of Shanghai and surroundings?) but I've never heard of it from Singapore.

BTW, apologies if the Shanghai statement is really wrong. I had searched for it earlier on the internet, but can't remember the details. And I was just trying to search for it in Chinese, but Google wasn't cooperating with my Chinese at the moment - kept searching for 'heiheidoufu' even though I'd typed in 'heidoufu'. Weird...

So, is anyone familiar with pressed, unsweet, yellow or black bean curd? Any suggestions for what to do with it?

I'm presuming one could just treat it as you would any pressed bean curd?

I know that I can buy a pressed bean curd that is called "smoked tofu", it is a dark dark brown, almost black, on the outside and a lighter brown on the inside.. doesn't really taste smoked but there you have it.. have no clue what to do with it.

Could this be one of your products?

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I know that I can buy a pressed bean curd that is called "smoked tofu", it is a dark dark brown, almost black, on the outside and a lighter brown on the inside.. doesn't really taste smoked but there you have it.. have no clue what to do with it.

Could this be one of  your products?

No, it's not the same stuff. This place also sells the smoked tofu you're talking about, and I don't know what is traditionally done with that either. :sad:

And for Seitch: they list the ingredients on the pack, and sesame is not included (though of course such listings are not always accurate). Doesn't say anything about the type of soy beans, so maybe you're right that there is a difference there (?)

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I know that I can buy a pressed bean curd that is called "smoked tofu", it is a dark dark brown, almost black, on the outside and a lighter brown on the inside.. doesn't really taste smoked but there you have it.. have no clue what to do with it.

Could this be one of  your products?

No, it's not the same stuff. This place also sells the smoked tofu you're talking about, and I don't know what is traditionally done with that either. :sad:

I think you both are talking about some pressed tofu. Dark brown they are. But they are not smoked. The brown color is from the "lo sui" [Cantonese], or the "master sauce" made from soy sauce, five spice and such.

Suggestions for what to do with them: you can slice them up and stir-fry them with vegetables.

One of my favorites is the Taiwanese style snack which uses pressed tofu and stir-fried with dried anchovies, garlic and pepper.

Cut the pressed tofu into thin strips (e.g. 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch).

Use one pack of dried enchovies, soak in warm water for >2 hours, drained.

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced.

1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced.

2-3 green onions, thinly sliced diagonally.

Use a pan/wok, a little bit of cooking oil at high heat. Add garlic, jalapeno pepper, bit of salt, stir for a few seconds. Add enchovies, stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the tofu strips. Drizzle some dark soy sauce in (to taste). Stir-fry between 3 to 5 minutes. Lastly add the green onions and drizzle in some sesame oil. Finished.

Serve hot or at room temperature or cold as an appertizer.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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  • 6 months later...

So in about 2 weeks I'll be back in Montreal for a month and I've been told to cook dinner for some friends and co-workers, some of which are proud vegetarians. When they come to meet me in China/HK we mostly avoid Chinese food since so far they are unimpressed with what they find in comparison to their favorites faux-meat veg places in Montreal. We have one Thai place in particular that is famous for what they can mimic.. and for their outrageous prices. But a lot of their criticism of eating veg in China stems from the fact that they believe Chinese-style soy products are no good, too simple... and most of the time just soft white bean curd. My answer is usually

--the soft-wide beancurd is the best...!!

--tofu is not a meat subsitute (that puts some into shock)

-- and you haven't seen 1/10th of what is commonly done in Chinese food with soy products...

and when they say 'what is commonly done?'

I go blank..

I can only describe the textures and look of this and that... practically no names. There isn't a chance they will be able to go to the chinese grocery shops and find anything based on what I told them.

So, I would like to now create some form of list with english and chinese names and maybe photos, for all the real Chinese soy products used in general chinese cuisine. I don't really mean the buddhist styles that do similar things of faking textures.

What I'm referring to are things like:

1) frozen tofu - 冻豆腐-dongdoufu- basically soft or semi-soft tofu thrown in the freezer and used later (awesome stuff, especially for hotpots and soups)

2) ? -fuzhu - tofu skins tightly wrapped and then dried.. millions of uses for the stuff once you rehydrate it later. (scares some veg friends of mine because they are certain it must be a random animals offals)

3) tofu skins 豆腐皮 - doufupi - Good for wrapping pieces of meat.. Usually they come in super thin or in the thicker and more dotted textured varieties (the latter of which is sliced super thin to become..

4) shredded tofu skins 豆腐丝 - doufusi - usually served cold with fresh coriander, garlic, spices, vinegar, sesame oil and light soy - I think. Good with cooked dried chilis and coriander.. mm

5) deep fried tofu puffs - don't remember Chinese.. Good in Malatang or nearly anywhere.. sometimes in Hot pot..

6) oh this one is amazing... don't know the english or the Chinese! they often come in small 4-5" rounds about 1/2" thick, and in Beijing they throw them in chunks into LiangPi 凉皮。I've also seen it as a cold sweet dark soy-cooked appetizer in Shanghai or further south. I think KFC (!!) also has it now as one of their appetizer. What is it?!

It is really spongy in texture, lots of holes. Another one of those freak out the vegetarians soy-product.

Any others?? I'm sure...

Now if everyone can continue to add whatever I've missed.. that'd be great. Especially different uses for these things.. and some assurances that they can be found in a city like montreal. I know many of them can..

Anyway.. I want to return home with some food that can impress these people on the topic of Chinese soy stuff without needed a chemistry degree to reprocess the tofu into fake t-bone steaks and cheesecake(uchh).

Edited by jokhm (log)
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I went to a restaurant in a Buddhist monastery in China that served the most delicious imitation dishes. I was quite young, but the few dishes I remember are imitation duck where the skin was pressed and crispy and even had the characteristic bumps from the plucked feathers. The duck meat was of another kind of soy product that very closely imitated the texture and appearance of roasted duck.

There was also imitation pork intestine that was very tender and less chewy than real pork intestine. I like pork intestine a great deal, but I think the facsimile was even better!

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heh sounds amazing

Yeah I've had some of that here and it is unbelievable. However, what I would like to do is show people that even the raw/simple/everyday type products can be impressive with simple cooking.... and some interesting ways of cooking them as well.

Though, since you mentioned it, anyone know a good place for the buddhist-style stuff in Beijing?

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oh... i have bad memories of 'tofu' cooked back in Canada... so bad.. so bad..

the firm crumbly stuff with no taste.. uch. It's no wonder that people aren't too thrilled with Tofu in general.

The only firm stuff you see regularly all over china is the one that is braised with dark soy and tons of chilis... mmm

Oh and I didn't even get into choudoufu!

21462952-M.jpg

there you go..

this one's fiery spicy, no real bad smell--!

and then there's namyu-fuyu-furu etc.. I'll leave that to the other current thread

Edited by jokhm (log)
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If you want to prepare it yourself, you really just need to buy good soy products. After that, there's not much to it other than stir-frying with some soy sauce. Do we already have a thread identifying good brands of soy products? If not, this would be a good place to start.

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Right

well, its the soy products themselves that are more of the concern. Back in Montreal I remember easily finding variations of firm and silken tofu.. If they were western brands then they were usually either too firm or too soft and meant only for desserts. The shops in areas with more chinese usually have tubs of really good soft tofu, but I never looked or knew much about any other varieties before settling in China. Maybe upon returning home I'll easily find it all,... easy to find when you suddenly know what you are looking for! But perhaps I'm wrong. I remember when I was in Vancouver last year the supermarket truly amazed me - i could find nearly anything related to CHinese/japanese/korean cuisine. But I fear Montreal isn't quite the same. Maybe i'm wrong..

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5) deep fried tofu puffs - don't remember Chinese.. Good in Malatang or nearly anywhere.. sometimes in Hot pot..

In Chinese: 豆腐浦

6) oh this one is amazing... don't know the english or the Chinese! they often come in small 4-5" rounds about 1/2" thick, and in Beijing they throw them in chunks into LiangPi 凉皮。I've also seen it as a cold sweet dark soy-cooked appetizer in Shanghai or further south.

I don't think LiangPi 凉皮 is tofu at all. Is it some kind of rice product? I am not sure.

There is also "tofu fa" 豆腐花, softer than silken tofu. Eaten sweet or savory as dessert or snack.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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