Red-Cooked Beancurd

‘Red-cooked’ is a term applied to Chinese dishes braised and spiced with the robust, dark, brownish-red seasonings of hoisin sauce, made from soya bean flour, red beans, chillies, sugar, salt, garlic and spices. The fried beancurd has a crispy surface while its soft interior readily absorbs the sauce. This is a flavourful dish that is a complete meal with other vegetables and plain rice.


  • 450 g (1 lb) firm beancurd
  • 3 tablespoons oil, preferably groundnut


  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
  • ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, roasted and finely ground
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chilli bean sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon oil, preferably groundnut


Cut the beancurd into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes. Heat a wok or large frying-pan and add the oil. When moderately hot, add the beancurd and fry for 1–2 minutes on each side until golden brown. Set aside. Wipe the wok clean.

Add all the sauce ingredients to the wok and bring to simmering point. Return the beancurd to the wok and simmer gently in this mixture for about 5 minutes. Turn onto a serving platter and serve.