I enjoy eating this fantastic dish on cold, winter days. But people enjoy it throughout the year. It ranks as one of my favorite tofu dishes.
The main keys are frying a tasty bed of food – including squid, garlic and onions – in a pan or wok before adding the fried bean curd and eating it right after it leaves the stove.
This cooking method enables the fried texture of the tofu to absorb the mixed flavors of fresh seafood, cooking wine and soy sauce. If you’ve had a long day or the weather is frigid, this meal can bring a smile to your face.
At least, it brings one to mine. The aroma is a kick, too. So, thank you Dan (my wife) for all your terrific cooking. Oh yes, serve on white rice.
This meal also is versatile. We’ve been using wild squid caught off the California coast. The Napa cabbage is soft but has a crunchy hint to it.
In the past, my wife has added pork to it. Some people will throw in shrimp. Cantonese barbecue pork is an option.
If you’re neither a fan of squid nor pork, toss in chili peppers for heat and taste.
But the squid really is key. You also can keep the squid and still add the peppers. If you’re growing cilantro in your garden or have some on hand, you can use it as a garnish.
And if garlic makes you happy, try it with raw cloves on the side.
The dish is popular in Southern China, particularly in Guangzhou. In Mandarin, people might refer to it as “doufu bao,” because restaurants often dish it up in clay pots.
These pots, often a tan or dark color, retain heat and keep the fried tofu soft. They’re typically heated on top of a stove. I’ve seen some dishes cooked right in them.
The price range for making this dish is about $5 to $7. That presumes that you already have the soy sauce, cooking wine and other minor ingredients. Cooking time is about 20 to 30 minutes.
Give it a try. Let me know what you think. Add more flavors or pull back to suit your taste.
After the jump is a basic slide show, the list of ingredients, steps and other details.