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Sunday brunch: Tofu and eggs 豆腐炒鸡蛋

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mungouk

Look at the colour of those tomatoes... mmm.

 

Possibly heresy, but I would be tempted to throw some cashew nuts in there towards the end as well, just to brown them a little.  They go nicely with tofu when it's crispy 😉  

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Shelley

Looks lovely, good colours as mungouk remarked about the tomatoes.

 

Tofu is a complete mystery to me, all I know is it is eaten a lot and is made from soy. I know there are many varieties, I kind of think of it as China's cheese.

 

Would be interesting if you did a sort of beginners guide to tofu, a bit about how its made stored and served. What does it taste like and so on.

 

 

 

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mungouk

Really?  :)  Every (British) vegetarian knows about Tofu, or at least the very limited range you get in the UK — mostly in health food shops, and usually of the consistency of a putty rubber (if you ever took art class). 

 

Not really related to cheese at all... the closest you might get in terms of consistency is Paneer from the Indian subcontinent, which is actually cheese, but the habit of translating it as "Cottage Cheese" is misleading.

 

Having been in Suzhou recently I'm fairly sure I was in very close proximity to "Stinky Tofu" and that's a clear No Thanks.  On the other hand the soft, chilled tofu you get in Japanese restaurants is the other end of the spectrum. Never came across this back home either. 

 

I've still to encounter the Hairy kind and that has me much more interested. :)

 

There must be a whole world out there to discover... Doufu-Shifu @abcdefg please guide us!

 

 

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mungouk

OK since we've deviated slightly from the original topic (sorry @abcdefg) maybe someone can tell me what this stuff is?  I saw stalls with the same branding all over the tourist spots in Suzhou, but I can't work out the stylised typeface that's being used. 

 

Is it actually "cheese" as Westerners would know it?

 

 

cheese - 1.jpg

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Yadang
14 hours ago, abcdefg said:

makes the tofu less likely to fall apart later when handled

 

Interesting. Is it the simmering that makes it less likely to fall apart, or the salt, or both? And how noticeable is the difference if you don't do this? 

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Shelley
1 hour ago, mungouk said:

Every (British) vegetarian knows about Tofu,

I am not a vegetarian, I don't eat out, I don't eat Chinese food in restaurants, I am not very adventurous in my eating habits because I have a severe nut allergy especially to peanuts, so it off limits to me. Unless I cook it, I don't eat it except for a Big Mac, I know, I know but I was born in Canada and this is the food of my childhood.

 

I thought an introduction to Tofu would help me decide to try some at home. What sorts are there? will they be safe for nut allergy sufferers? etc.

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mungouk

No worries @Shelley... didn't mean to antagonise you. I was surprised you didn't come across Tofu in England before.  It's been on sale in supermarkets for many years.

 

AFAIK tofu has no risk regarding nut allergies, but that would depend on where it's produced. 

I totally agree, an intro to the many kinds of Tofu would be really great... over to you, Doufu-shifu @abcdefg :)

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Shelley

@mungouk its okay, you didn't antagonise me, just explaining. Sometimes when I am typing i am brief to the point of sounding terse. If we were chatting my tone of voice and a more verbose reply would have indicated I was merely tying to inform you.

 

Over to you, Doufu-shifu:)

 

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abcdefg
Quote

There must be a whole word out there to discover... Doufu-Shifu @abcdefg please guide us!

 

There is a whole world of tofu out there! I'll be glad to put something together as an introduction to eating and cooking with Chinese tofu. But it's Monday morning and I can't do it right now, so let me refer you to some prior articles here in these forums:

 

1. The mother, or grandmother, of all tofu recipes is Mapo Toufu: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/55081-sichuan-fire-mapo-tofu-麻婆豆腐/ 

2. Tofu with ham: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/55009-tofu-and-ham-火腿香煎豆腐/?tab=comments#comment-424232 

3. Sauteed tofu from Shiping town: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/54450-getting-the-most-from-shiping-tofu-香煎石屏豆腐/#comment-418192 

4. And here's a tofu soup: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/47614-wandoujian-toufu-soup-豌豆尖豆腐汤/

 

Tofu, as you suggested, is incredibly versatile and comes in so many forms. My neighborhood wet market has a half dozen tofu vendors, each selling 15 or 20 varieties, ranging from some that are staples to others that are clearly exotics. What I would like to do is go back over there and take some photos to use as a starting point for further discussion. 

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abcdefg
8 hours ago, mungouk said:

Is it actually "cheese" as Westerners would know it?

 

I'm not sure what that is. It would surprise me for cheese to be a big seller there in Suzhou, but the large lettering below does say New Zealand, source of lots of premium imported dairy products. 

--------------------------- 

@Yadang -- 

Quote

Is it the simmering that makes it less likely to fall apart, or the salt, or both? And how noticeable is the difference if you don't do this? 

 

It's both. The difference produced depends on what kind of tofu you started with. Some are soft and fragile, others have been pressed and dried to some extent. 

 

But even after simmering in salted water, most tofu needs to be stirred carefully when combined with other ingredients in the wok so that it doesn't just fall apart. It's not really difficult, however. Just requires a light touch. 

 

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Shelley

When I said it was like Chinese cheese what I meant was that it takes the same place in the cuisine as cheese does in others. Not a direct replacement, just a sideways step to fill a gap. Also he fact that there are so many varieties and there is almost a cheese to tofu equivalent, I imagine stinky tofu is in the same place as a smelly cheese.

 

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Bibu

anyone tried northeast Tofu? the best breed of tofu,  eat fresh ....a lot restruant has fresh tofu now, mostly served on a 竹笼屉, but the best is still in northeast, 哈尔滨。。。。

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abcdefg
8 hours ago, Bibu said:

anyone tried northeast Tofu?

 

Agree that it's very good @Bibu. I've had it alongside 饺子 served in a 竹笼屉 in Haerbin, but it was several years ago and I don't recall the details. 

 

Quote

When I said it was like Chinese cheese what I meant was that it takes the same place in the cuisine as cheese does in others. Not a direct replacement, just a sideways step to fill a gap.

 

I understand what you mean, @Shelley. I think that's a pretty good comparison except that tofu plays a much larger role in the average Chinese diet than does cheese in the average western diet. ("Average western diet" sounds like a strange and problematic concept as I type out the phrase.) 

 

Tofu is food of the masses. It's very inexpensive and ordinary people 老百姓 eat it several times a week. It's also more versatile than cheese; can be used in so many different ways. 

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Alex_Hart

Looks lovely, abcd! Just came back after being out of Hangzhou for 2 months - will need to try this after I finish moving apartments. Looks like a welcome change from 番茄炒蛋

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abcdefg

Welcome back! Another easy egg dish is always welcome in my kitchen. 

 

Weren't you planning to go to China's NW? Hope you will fill us in when you have time. 

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