When I think of Tofu, it makes me feel nostalgic!
In the 1970’s, local communities especially rural ones where I grow up, had at least one handmade Tofu shop operating as a family business. Their business were taken over by a small number of big companies and by 2015, the number of the family business dwindled to roughly 14%. It is a rare opportunity for any Japanese to eat a handmade Tofu nowadays. I do miss the taste of fresh handmade Tofu which is best eaten fresh with soy sauce, grated ginger or Shiso leaf (translated as an aromatic basil.)
I can appreciate the convenience of mass made packed Tofu. Let’s enjoy it as is a superb source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. Its health benefit goes on to being an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous and lots more.
Black bean sauce is one of the sauce I always keep in my fridge along with oyster sauce. It has a distinctive ‘earthy’ taste. It goes well with almost any vegetables, meat and seafood! There is no species of beans called a Black bean: it is a cured then fermented soybean. Black bean sauce does not add much by way of nutrition but it can make many healthy dishes taste great depending on the chef’s imagination.
Preparation: 20 minutes Easy
2 nests of Konjac noodles
1 ×349g packet of Tofu
125g minced pork (optional)
Mixed vegetables approx. 250g. (See below for an example)
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
250ml of vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of black bean sauce
1 tablespoon of corn flour dissolved in the same volume of water
A thumb-sized ginger grated or finely chopped
sesame oil / chilli oil, Shichimi chilli powder to garnish
(I used these vegetables: 100g cabbage shredded, 80g onion finely chopped, 60g carrot diced, 20g mangetout chopped)
- Season little flour with salt and pepper and sprinkle it on the minced pork. For vegetarian option, skip this and start from step 2.
- Heat the oil in a wok and fly ginger lightly. Add the pork mince and cook thoroughly. Take out the mince from the wok and set aside.
- Stir fly the vegetables starting from the hardest vegetables: carrot, onion, then cabbage. When all the vegetables are cooked, return the pork in the wok and add stock & the black bean sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat.
- Soak the Konjac noodles in boiled water for 5 minutes. Rinse and drain.
- Add the mangetout and adjust the taste of the sauce by adding more black ban sauce or soy sauce.
- Add the corn flour water and boil it up. Once it is boiled again, it is ready to be served.
- Enjoy on rice. You may want to sprinkle little sesame oil or chilli oil then finish with the Shichimi chili powder.
I know the list of the ingredients seems long and so is the preparation methods but it is really a simple stir fly. The important step would be step 6. It is different from making thick gravy or thickening custard!
When you prepare this dish, you certainly do not weigh ingredients. It does not matter if you put a half onion or the entire one, for example. For vegetarians, the meat can be omitted or replaced by vegetarian mince. If you do use pork mince, I recommend putting cabbage- a universal combination of park and cabbage. You don’t have to buy Chinese leaf specially for this.