This is a favorite vegetarian recipe of mine, although if you are a meat lover you can add some ground beef after heating the vegetable oil in the method. There are many different varieties of beancurd (dofu to the Chinese, tofu to the Japanese – the name you see in supermarkets). It can be fresh, fried, fermented or smoked and is available in soft and firm varieties. The more acidic tofu is more silken in texture. Although in itself quite bland, when you fry or freeze a fresh block of tofu tiny holes appear, allowing it to soak up wonderful flavors like a sponge. Tofu is extremely nutritious and a good source of low-fat protein because it is made from the milky liquid of crushed soy beans which are pressed and formed to make this cheese-like ingredient.
Most ordinary supermarkets stock the long-life variety of tofu, packed in tetra-paks. However, nothing beats fresh beancurd and I would be thrilled to see fresh tofu next to the Cheddar, mozzarella and stilton in the refrigerator case!
© 2006 Ching-He Huang. All rights reserved.