Mapo tofu is a well-known Chinese dish even in the Western world. Besides, there is one more stereotyped tofu dish– deep-fried tofu drowned in thick sweet and sour sauces in many Chinese restaurants in the US. Do native Chinese cook tofu in this way? The answer is absolutely no! Chinese have numerous ways to cook tofu. Today I want to introduce a simple vegan home style tofu.
Let me start with introducing main ingredients first.
The tofu in the above picture was bought from a local organic store Maripose Food Co-op in Philadelphia. It’s not sealed in a package, but was soaked in fresh water. Instead of a smooth surface, there are rows of lines. It’s a imprint of human technique, reminding me of my hometown tofu.
One important ingredient for seasoning is da cong (大葱). They are much longer ,thicker, more flavorful than the common spring onions for garnishing a final dish. You can easily tell their green leaves are much darker. It is common in North China, where people only eat the stalk part, usually mixing together with meat as dumpling fillings, or stewing with meat or sometimes stir frying. It is also an indispensable ingredient for authentic scallion pancakes. Unfortunately, there is no exact name in English language. Even Wikipedia says the translations are ambiguous. I decide to use the Chinese pinyin da cong, without translating. I bought them from H Mart.
Vegan Home Style Tofu
Serves : two people
- A fresh firm tofu bulk, cut into halves first and sliced into 2mm pieces
- One piece of one-inch ginger, diced
- Two-inch da cong stalk, diced
- A tablespoon of grapeseed oil
- A quarter of teaspoon of white pepper
- One tablespoon of KIKKOMAN soy sauce or any other brand of light soy sauce
- A teaspoon of sesame oil
- Salt to taste
- Sprinkle a quarter of teaspoon of salt in the wok first and heat the grapeseed oil.
- Fry two sides of tofu pieces until some of each piece’s surface look a little yellow over low flame for five to six minutes. (See the picture above.)
- Move the tofu pieces aside in the wok and stir fry ginger and da cong until aromatic about two minutes.
- Add soy sauce to stir fry together for two minutes.
- Add 1.5 cups of water and white pepper to boil for five minutes. Add sesame oil.
- Scatter some spring onions and add salt to taste.
- Transfer to a plate and serve warm with rice.
This dish is light but still tasty. For people who prefer heavy tastes, feel free to add dark soy sauce or hot peppers.