Private homes are the places I remember best for eating in China. The Guan family of Kunming, in Yunnan, served a feast of twelve superb dishes, but the bean curd course captured my heart.
Vegetarians will delight in this dish as a main course or serve it as a side dish with or without meat. It can be prepared in advance, as it reheats nicely. You might want to reduce the chilli by half the first time you prepare it. I have a love for very hot foods.
Drain the bean curd and cut it into
Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the tablespoon of oil and the rest of the filling ingredients and stir-fry for 1 minute. Transfer these ingredients to a bowl and allow them to cool thoroughly.
Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the oil for deep-frying and when hot, cook the bean curd on both sides until it is golden brown. Remove the bean curd squares from the wok, drain them well on kitchen paper and allow them to cool thoroughly. Discard the oil.
Take each bean curd square and split it open slightly with a knife on one side to form a pocket. Place a spoonful of cooked filling in each of the pockets. Continue to fill the squares.
Wipe the wok clean, reheat, and add the tablespoon of oil for the sauce. Then add the garlic and ginger, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then add the rest of the sauce ingredients except the cornflour mixture and sesame oil. Bring the mixture to the boil, return the fried bean curd pieces to the wok and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the cornflour mixture, stir gently, and then add the sesame oil. Give the mixture a final turn and serve at once.
© 1990 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.