Bamboo Tofu Recipe
During our trip to Paris, my husband Lulu indulged in many cheeses and French desserts. Now that we're back home, we're back to healthier meals. In keeping with that spirit, I prepared a tofu dish with young bamboo shoots, carrots, baby corn and cucumbers.
Fresh bamboo shoots provide a meaty, slightly crunchy texture and incredible subtle flavor to the dish. If you happen to find this unusual ingredient fresh at your local Asian grocery store, be sure to give it a try.
Yields: 6 servings1 (16-ounce) package firm tofu
1 small white onion, cut into thin wedges
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
½ cucumber, halved lengthwise and thickly sliced
1½ cups fresh bamboo shoots, thickly sliced
1 cup baby corn, cut into thirds
1 carrots, sliced on the bias
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
4 tablespoons canola oil
¼ cup dark soy sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
Preparing the tofu: Cut the tofu into 1¼-inch slices. In a wok, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Pan-fry the slices on both sides until golden. Cut the slices into cubes. The tofu should have a nice fried outer crust and still be moist inside. Transfer the tofu onto paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
Prepping the veggies:
In the same wok, using the same oil from the tofu, sauté the bamboo shoots and carrots. Stir and cook until shiny. Add ¼ cup water to soften the carrots. Do not over-cook, as they will finish cooking with the tofu; you still want them to hold their shape. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
In the same wok, drizzle about 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the minced fresh ginger and garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the onion wedges, tofu, bamboo shoots, carrots, corn and cucumber. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, sprinkle with sugar and add the chili garlic sauce. Transfer to a plate.
In a small bowl, dissolve the tapioca starch in ¼ cup water and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Stir well. Set aside.
Pour the tapioca mixture in the wok. Bring to a boil. Add a drizzle of water if necessary, stirring constantly to prevent the starch from sticking to the bottom of the wok. The liquid will thicken very quickly.
Return the veggies and tofu. Add the remaining soy sauce. Check the texture of the sauce; it should be thick and syrupy. The liquid from the vegetables will thin the sauce a little bit. Stir constantly until all the sauce is evenly distributed. Toss well for 2-3 minutes. Check seasoning (add more salt if necessary). Add black pepper. Turn off the heat. Keep on the stove for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.
Serve on a bed of shredded Chinese cabbage with fried, garlic-flavored steamed brown jasmine rice.
Eat with chopsticks!
I used tofu for this recipe but you can also substitute it with seitan for a crispy, chewier texture. I think seitan resemble meat a lot.
Soy sauce brings saltiness to the dish and a nice amber color. My favorite soy sauce is Da Bo De. It has a very nice flavor and is not too salty. You can find this particular sauce in downtown San Jose, at Dai Thanh Asian market on 420 South 2nd street in San Jose. Fresh Vietnamese produce are at a very reasonable price. This is one of the best "ethnic" grocery stores in the area.
In addition to the bamboo shoots, you can add any other seasonal vegetable that you have on hand such as broccoli, water chestnuts or eggplant.