FIVE SPICE TOFU
Everyone in the family agrees that Shredded Pork with Five Spice Tofu (香干肉丝) is the best dish to have when dining out. Even though I frequently prepare this dish at home, we prefer to treat ourselves to a fancy meal when we can. However, until a reader requested me for a variation of this meal with additional sauce “like the way the restaurants make it,” I hadn’t given it any thought.
HOME-COOKED FOOD TRANSFORMED INTO A RESTAURANT DISH
In an instant, I was coming up with new ideas to improve the recipe I’d been using for so long. After 20 years, the lighting finally went out!
It dawned on me that restaurants make this meal slightly saucy, but their bean curd is also softer and the meat is more juicy and tender.
Cooking the pork and the five spice tofu separately before combining them is how I generally make this stir-fry. As it turns out, though, I’d always overcook and over-brown them a little. Less is definitely more in this instance.
I just learned that adding water to the meat marinade makes the pork even softer than if it had been marinated solely in cornstarch.
Pre-cooked five-spice tofu (or bean curd) is the tofu I use in this dish. The five-spice version is a light brown tint, while the basic version has a light yellow color. Both are delicious!
Among our many tofu dishes are Ma Po Tofu, Crispy Tofu Tacos, Beef with Tofu, and Home-Style Stir-Fried Tofu.
However, I’d want to share more recipes, including this one for five-spiced bean curd, that make use of other ready-made soybean products.
- 225g of boneless pork shoulder or loin (1½-inches strips long)
- 3 tablespoons of water
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons of Shaoxing wine
- 1½ teaspoons of cornstarch
- ⅛ teaspoon of sugar
REST OF THE DISH:
- 225g of julienned spiced bean curd
- 3 scallions (large pieces)
- 1 medium julienned carrot
- ½ cup of julienned red bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon of dark soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of sugar
- Salt (to taste)
- The cornstarch, water, sugar, Shaoxing wine, and light soy sauce are all combined with the pork and let to stand for 15 minutes.
- The wok should be preheated over high heat until it barely begins to smoke. Stir-fry the pork with 2 tablespoons of oil until it barely turns opaque (i.e. only until it looks cooked––no need to brown it any longer than that). After turning the heat off, take the pork out of the wok and place it aside.
- Next, add one tablespoon of oil to the wok that is currently on medium heat. 30 seconds later, add the ginger and garlic and stir until fragrant. Carrots, bell peppers, and tofu with five spice are then added. Using a high-heat setting, stir-fry for one minute. The cooked pork, scallions, dark soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, and one tablespoon of water are then added. Everything should be thoroughly mixed and stirred. Serve with salt to taste.