This is similar to a Japanese dish called Agedashi Tofu (beancurd is tofu in Japanese, dofu in Mandarin Chinese). It is usually served in Japanese restaurants with a dashi broth (made with dried bonito fish flakes and konbu, a variety of kelp). My version has a different dip using light soy sauce, mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine), toasted sesame seeds, chilies and a sprinkle of sugar. This makes a simple but elegant appetizer. The Chinese ingredient here is glutinous rice flour, used to give a crunchy brown coating to the tofu. Try to buy fresh tofu, available from Chinese supermarkets, as nothing beats fresh.
© 2006 Ching-He Huang. All rights reserved.