Smoked tofu with celery and peanuts

Smoked tofu with celery and peanuts

Liang ban dou fu gan

By
From
Every Grain of Rice
Photographer
Chris Terry

When I was a student at Sichuan University, there was a street market just outside the campus that overflowed with seasonal produce. Farmers would crouch behind stalls with their produce, perhaps just a single ingredient, piled up in bamboo trays. One old woman sat behind an array of spices that included blood-red chillies and dusky pink Sichuan pepper, while the butchers hung their pink-and-white slabs of meat on blackened iron frames. And then there was a man with a glass cabinet of spicy hors d’oeuvres and relishes on the back of his bicycle cart: piquant concoctions of pickled tubers and dried radish, tofu skin and other vegetarian titbits. The following mixture was always one of my favourites. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare and makes a wonderful appetiser. You can use either fried or roasted peanuts: both are delicious, differing mainly in the mouthfeel of the moist or crunchy nuts.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g smoked or spiced firm tofu
3 celery sticks, (about 125g)
30g Roasted and fried peanuts
1 1/2 tablespoons chilli oil, with 1/2 tablespoon of its sediment, to taste
good pinch caster sugar
salt, to taste

Method

  1. Cut the tofu into 1 cm cubes. De-string the celery sticks, cut them lengthways into 1 cm strips, then into small pieces to match the tofu. Bring some water to a boil in a saucepan, add the celery and blanch for 30–60 seconds; it should remain a little crunchy. Remove to a colander and cool immediately under the cold tap, then shake dry.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve.

Variation

  • Simple firm tofu salad: This satisfying appetiser can be can be rustled up in minutes if you have the tofu, sesame seeds and a spring onion or two in the fridge. Toast 1 teaspoon sesame seeds in a dry wok or frying pan until fragrant and starting to turn golden, then tip into a small bowl to stop the cooking. Cut 125 g spiced firm tofu into thin slices or slivers and combine with 2 tablespoons finely sliced spring onion greens, 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar, 2 tablespoons chilli oil, with or without its sediment, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and salt to taste. Scatter the sesame seeds over and serve.

    There are many types of spiced, firm tofu: I use lightly spiced squares for this recipe, pale brown on the outside, about 1 cm thick and the texture of Edam cheese, found in my local Chinatown, but you might find some that is a dark caramel colour. The same seasonings can be used to dress tofu ‘bamboo’, or very thin sheets of firm tofu, cut into tagliatelle-like ribbons. Some people add crushed garlic to the sauce, others chopped coriander or ground roasted Sichuan pepper. And if you want to keep the flavours even simpler, just toss the tofu in a little soy sauce and sesame oil, with the spring onion greens and sesame seeds as a garnish.
Tags:
Chinese
Sichuanese
Asian
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