Thursday, January 9, 2014

Home Style Tofu (Jia Chang Dou Fu)

Home Style Tofu is basically a homey Chinese concoction that comes in many iterations, depending on who the home cook is. The traditional Szechuanese version is spicy due to the addition of hot bean paste. My mom's Taiwanese version (with julienned pork, soy sauce, a pinch of sugar, sesame oil, and Chinese chives) is not. Anyhoo, I like to straddle the line between savory & spicy, so this is my take on the dish. 

1 lb. pork loin, cut into thin strips/julienned
1 egg white
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. soy sauce

5 cloves garlic, minced
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1-2 green Jalapeños, seeded and sliced
2 tbsp. black bean sauce
2 14-oz pkgs. of firm tofu, cut into 1/2" slices, 2" x 2" square

2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper

1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water

5 scallions, sliced into 1" strips along the bias
1 tsp. sesame oil

1. Marinate julienned pork in 1 egg white, 2 tsp. cornstarch and 1 tbsp. soy sauce for 20-30 minutes. Set aside. 

2. Slice the tofu and blot dry with paper towels. Set aside.

2. Heat 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan or wok over medium high heat. Add the pork and sauté 3-5 minutes until just cooked through. Remove the pork to a bowl and set aside.

3. Wipe the pan dry and return to the stove. Add 1 cup of oil and turn heat up to high. In the meantime, blot the tofu slices again with paper towels to remove as much moisture/water as possible. Fry the tofu slices in two batches in the hot oil about 5 minutes per side until lightly browned. Remove the fried tofu to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. 

4. Pour out all but 2 tbsp. of oil from the pan. Heat over medium-high and sauté the green & red peppers, garlic and black bean sauce for 30 seconds until fragrant. 

5. Add the chicken stock, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Bring to a boil.

6. Combine 1 tbsp. of cornstarch and 1 tbsp. of water to make a cornstarch slurry and add to the sauce mixture in the pan. Stir in the pork, tofu, sliced scallions, and sesame oil, and cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 

7. Pour onto a serving platter or into a clay pot and serve with steamed white rice.

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