From the Imperial banquet hall to the most humble peasant kitchen, vegetarian dishes have always been included in any special feast. This recipe has been traced to the Long Yin Si Temple in Hangzhou, the ancient capital city of the Southern Song Dynasty (1126-1279). Temple cooking was influenced by Buddhist and Daoist religious philosophy and by the availability of vegetables that lent themselves to subtly sweet but delicious combinations. The extraordinary versatility of bean curd can be seen here in its marriage to the venerable Chinese cabbage.
Cut the bean curd into
Cut the cabbage into
Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the oil and when it is hot, stir-fry the bean curd on both sides until it is golden brown.
Drain well on kitchen paper. Drain and discard the oil. Wipe the wok or pan clean, reheat, and add the 1½ tablespoons of oil. Put in the onions and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add the cabbage and the rest of the ingredients except the sesame oil. Continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes. Return the fried bean curd pieces to the pan and cook over high heat for 5 minutes or until the cabbage has completely cooked. Add the sesame oil and give the mixture a final turn. Serve at once.
© 1990 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.