As it’s Chinese New Year I thought I’d have a go at making my family’s favourite Chinese takeaway meal, beancurd in black bean sauce. Having only ever used black bean sauce from a packet I was determined to try and make it myself but was doubtful I’d find fermented black beans in my local Sainsbury’s. BUT I DID! Stumbled across it in the World Foods isle. They looked pretty gross actually, a bit like jam so I bought ready made black bean sauce too just in case. If you can’t find fermented black beans, you can order them by clicking here but if you can’t be bothered I won’t be offended if you buy it ready made.
I remember my dad not being a fan of the green pepper in this dish, he used to moan about it every time we got a takeaway so I’ve replaced it for red pepper. If I’d have known how easy it was to make, I’d have made it for him before he died. Although thinking about it, he’d probably still have moaned about it being too hot. Oh well, can’t win em all. Anyway, happy Chinese New Year dad, mum and my brother Peter, this one’s for you.
Bean Curd in Black Bean Sauce
Serves 4 / Takes 40 minutes / Vegan
(You’ll need a food processor if you’re making the sauce)
Black bean sauce:
2 tbs Fermented black beans in chilli washed and sieved
2 tbs dry sherry
2 tbs light soy sauce
4 garlic crushed garlic cloves
Half a medium deseeded red chilli chopped (leave out the chilli if you don’t want it too hot)
1 sliced red pepper
1 large aubergine cut into chunks
5 spring onions sliced
Pack of firm tofu cut into chunks
Salt and pepper
3tsp ground nut oil
Garnish: 2 chopped spring onions and freshly chopped coriander
Serve with brown basmati rice
1. If you’re making rice then put this on first. I use brown basmati rice. Pour a 1/3 of a mug of rice per person into a pan and fill with double the amount of cold water. Season with salt, cover and bring to the boil. Once boiling bring down to a simmer, cover again for around 15 minutes or until the water has absorbed. Take off the heat, cover with a lid and leave to one side. The rice will continue to steam so should be cooked by the time the dish is done.
2. Put all the ingredients for the black bean sauce in a food processor and blitz. I use my little hand blender. Don’t over blitz though, you want the sauce to keep some of its texture. Put to one side.
3. Drain the tofu and lay it on some layered kitchen roll. Layer more on top and place something heavy on it, I use the lid of my heavy bottomed pot. You don’t have to do this but I like to squeeze as much water out as I can.
4. Put a tsp of nut oil in a wok or a large saucepan on a high heat. Cut the tofu into large cubes and carefully put in the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes turning the tofu so it browns on all sides. If the tofu starts to get a bit brown add a tbs of water.
5. Tip the tofu into a large bowl with tissue paper at the bottom and sprinkle with salt. Cover with foil.
6. Add another tsp of oil to the hot pan and carefully add the chopped aubergine. Keep the aubergine moving and once the oil has been absorbed keep adding water a bit at a time until it’s cooked. This will take about 8 minutes.
7. Remove the aubergine and add it to the bowl of tofu and sprinkle with a little more salt. Cover with foil.
8. Put the last tsp of oil in the pan and lastly add the sliced red pepper and spring onions to the pan. Fry for a couple minutes and then add the aubergine, tofu and the black bean sauce. Mix it all together and cook for a further 5 minutes.
9. Serve with the 2 left over chopped spring onions and freshly chopped coriander.
If you’ve had a go at making my tofu in black bean sauce or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it. @corrieheale firstname.lastname@example.org