braised firm tofu with tomatoes

This is another beautiful vegetarian meal, this time inspired by a Kylie Kwon recipe.
Tomatoes are an unusual ingredient in Chinese cooking, and I think this dish comes from a particular part of China that traditionally grows tomatoes as well as potatoes.
What makes this so tasty and satisfying is the perfect balance of sweet, sour and salty flavours.

Best served with steamed or egg fried rice and some Chinese greens (like garlic spinach or pak choy) as a side.


Ingredients (for 2 people)

groundnut oil for frying tofu cubes (only use 1-2 tbsp in the final stir fry though)
1 packet (approx 400g) firm tofu or beancurd
3 medium (or 9 small) tomatoes
1 tbsp brown sugar (I use Muscovado)
5 cm root ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
3-4 spring onions (if they are really huge then only 2), sliced diagonally into 5 cm pieces
2 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine
2 tbsp Chinkiang black rice vinegar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
dash of sesame oil
pinch of ground white pepper


If you can't find proper firm tofu, you'll have to first fry the fresh tofu cubes in about 1-2 cm of oil in a small non-stick saucepan. Cut the tofu into 2cm pieces and gently lower into a very hot oil. Fry in batches until nice and golden, and drain cooked tofu cubes on absorbent kitchen paper. Save 2 tbsp of oil for the final stir fry, discard the rest.

But if you have firm tofu/beancurd (firm like feta cheese) then you can just cut it into 0.5 cm thick 1 inch long rectangles and use them directly in the stir fry.
Heat 2 tbsp groundnut oil in the wok and place firm tofu in it, and allow it to fry to golden colour, about 3 minutes.

Cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces (if using cherry tomatoes leave whole) and add to tofu, together with sliced ginger. Stir fry for 30 seconds and add tomatoes. Stir fry for 2 minutes, making sure you don't break up the tofu.
Add sugar and stir fry for another minute until caramelised. Add wine and stir fry for another minute.
Finally, add the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, white pepper and spring onions.

Toss gently and serve immediately.


Bon appétit!

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