Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shanghai Shredded Dried Tofu

I was introduced to this unique dish by a colleague, Heather, at work. She's our resident chef who cooks up a storm every lunch hour and at times, filling-up our tummies with delicious new Chinese dishes. Today's lunch was no exception.

Heather, quite savvy in the kitchen, was able to quickly whip up some of her shredded dried bean curd, also know as tofu, so I could have a taste. (Thank you Heather!) Now most of us have seen and had tofu but...not quite like this. Looking at the dish, it could have easily be mistaken for chow mein because this type of tofu appear like thin egg noodles mixed with stir-fried veggies.
Did you know: Dry tofu in Chinese is called dòu gān and it literally means "dry tofu". However, despite its name, the tofu has not been dried but is an extra firm variety with a majority of its liquid removed out of it. It is then pressed flat and sliced into long strings, resembling noodles.
This shredded dried tofu dish is popular in the Shanghai region, a city located in eastern China. It's typically served cold and as an appetizer mixed with julienne carrots & celery, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar. I was told you can easily find dried shredded tofu from your closest Asian market, like T&T Supermarket. So try this recipe as a healthy alternative for lunch!

1 package of fresh bean curd, string
1 carrot, julienne
2 celery sticks, julienne
1/2 cup sesame oil
1 tsp ginger, grated

2 tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
Did you know: Dry tofu contains the least amount of moisture of all fresh tofu and has the firmness of fully cooked meat and a somewhat rubbery feel similar to that of the Indian cheese, paneer.
1. Submerge the fresh tofu in boiling water for a quick rehydration for 2 minutes then
drain completely.
2. Mix the uncooked julienne carrots and celery together with the tofu.
3. Stir together the sesame oil, ginger, salt, soy sauce and sugar until the the salt & sugar are dissolved.
4. Combine the tofu mixture with the sesame oil sauce together until the the sauce coats the tofu & veggies. Then top your dish with the fresh cilantro.
Try this: Customize your dish by adding more texture and flavours like bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and bean sprouts, yummy!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Paneer Pakora in Vaisakhi!

We visited Surrey and enjoyed a sunny day celebrating the ancient harvest festival Vaisakhi! It's a high octane day commemorating the establishment of Sikh's Khalsa in 1699 and is also observed as the beginning of the Hindu solar new year. We were greeted with with an abundance of FREE tasty food, primarily donated by local businesses and loads of contagious high energy from the Surrey community.
Did you know: In Vancouver, Vaisakhi is celebrated during April and attracts close to 200,000 people, making it one of the
This was my first time at Vaisakhi and I was blown away by all the local community who came in droves to enjoy the parades, floats, live music, crowds and free food so graciously prepared by local residents and businesses.
Try this: Bring your own portable resusable containers and utensils to prevent unnecessarily using countless disposable containers that just end up piling up in our landfill. We did and even managed to neatly package some leftovers for lunch the next day!
In this Candice's Cusina's segment, we're featuring the Paneer Pakora. Paneer is a soft, unripened white cheese made from cow's milk while pakora is a deep-fried fritter that encases the paneer. Paneer Pakora, originated in South Asia, is typically served as a snack or appetizer.


1 cup gram flour (chickpea flour)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp tumeric powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
250 gms paneer (cut into thick squares)
Vegetable oil for frying
Mango chutney


1. Sift the gram flour into a medium bowl. Mix in the coriander, garam masala, tumeric, chili powder and salt.
2. Make a well in the center of the flower. Gradually pour the water into the well and mix to form a thick, smooth batter.
3. Over medium high heat in a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4. Dip and coat paneer in the gram flour batter then fry them in small batches until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels before serving piping hot with delicious mango chutney!

Did you know: Seva, meaning religious work, is the act of selfless service. So local residents and entrepreneurs who give out free food during Vaisakhi are practicing seva as it's considered an essential devotional service for many Dharmic religions.