Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Braised Tofu in Black Vinegar Sauce

This dish is redolent of the flavors of a hot and sour soup and probably something that my grandpa (Ah-Kung) would have enjoyed because of the addition of vinegar, a commonly used ingredient in the cuisine of his native Fujian province. I adapted this recipe from Chinese Cooking: Favorite Home Dishes, a Weichuan cookbook by Chen Hsueh Hsia published in 1993. Very easy to make, super flavorful and great on its own or over steamed white rice.

1 lb. ground pork
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
3 scallions, chopped
2 tsp. Chinese chili garlic sauce
2 14-oz. boxes soft tofu, cubed and drained

2 cups water
5 tbsp. soy sauce
5 tbsp. Chinese black vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 cup green peas

Cornstarch Slurry:
3 tbsp. water
3 tbsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Combine the sauce ingredients together in a bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.  

2. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a saute pan or wok over medium high heat. Add the pork and break up the meat with a spatula.

3. When the pork is partially cooked through, add the garlic, ginger, and scallions. Saute for 10-15 seconds until fragrant. Stir in the chili garlic sauce.

4. Add the cubed tofu and stir gently to combine. Pour in the sauce, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. 

5. Remove cover, bring the tofu mixture up to a boil, add the green peas then stir in the cornstarch slurry. Cook for about 30 seconds to a minute, or until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the white pepper and half of the cilantro.

6. Pour the tofu onto a serving dish; garnish with the remaining cilantro. 

Tofu, chopped scallions, cilantro, minced garlic & ginger.

Sauce and cornstarch slurry.

Salute the pork until partially cooked through.

Add garlic, ginger and scallions. 

Stir in the chili garlic sauce. 

Add the tofu.

Add the sauce, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes.

Soy sauce, sesame oil, black vinegar, sugar, and chili garlic sauce. 

Add the peas. 

Thicken with cornstarch slurry.

Stir in half of cilantro and the white pepper.

Plate and garnish with the remaining cilantro.

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