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!!