Tofu is so healthy and versatile. We had it a lot at home when I was growing up, and my mother loves cooking with it. Here’s another of those home-style cooking recipes that she sent me ten years ago. As we’re originally from Hong Kong, she didn’t think that I would survive two years in Beijing eating northern Chinese food. And it’s true, I did end up eating a lot of Japanese and Korean food after a while. So here’s a delicious dish that I love.
- 3-4 Chinese dried scallops (depending on the size)
- 5-6 Chinese dried mushrooms (depending on the size)
- one type of Chinese vegetable (Chinese cabbage, pak choi, choi sum etc)
- block of fresh firm tofu
- salt and freshly ground white pepper
- vegetable cooking oil
- hoisin (oyster) sauce
- ginger, garlic & spring onion
- minced meat (pork or beef, hand minced) – optional
What to do next:
Soak a handful of dried Chinese mushrooms in some warm to hot water until soft. At the same time, soak three or four dried scallops in hot water for 30 minutes or so, until they are soft (but not too soft that they fall apart), then pour the water away. Cook in a little water for 5 minutes and set aside.
You can buy both of these ingredients in Chinese supermarkets (although you can’t get currently find dried scallops in the UK, as far as I know, because of import restrictions). The more expensive, the better the quality. You don’t need to use many of either and they can be stored in the fridge for months in airtight containers.
Drain mushrooms and cook separately in some water with oil, salt, sugar and a little oyster sauce. These can be added to the tofu and scallops later. Heat pan with oil, add some sliced ginger, garlic and spring onion, then add roughly chopped tofu (it will break up during cooking anyway) and dried scallops with the cooking water (this will add to the flavour of the dish).
If you like, you can break up the dried scallops into smaller pieces. Season with salt and pepper, a little oyster sauce, and cook for ten minutes, then add a bit of cornflour for thickening.
Steam or wok-fry your chosen vegetable and place on serving plate. Serve the tofu, scallops and Chinese mushrooms on top of the cooked Chinese vegetables, with your other main dishes and plain white rice.
See my recent post on my favourite Cantonese home-cooked meals for my mother’s other recipes.
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