I’m a big fan of vegetarian cuisine and the art of imitation meat. I’m most intrigued by Buddhist vegetarian foods. Their dishes look like meat, but are actually made of a combination of tofu, wheat gluten, and other amazing ingredients. (For example, making vegetarian roasted pork from wheat gluten.)
One ingredient commonly used in Asian vegetarian dishes is bean curd (tofu). It’s made from curdled soymilk (similar to how cheese is made from milk). It comes in many forms and textures.
Dried bean curd skins are a form of bean curd. It’s found in Asian grocery stores often in the dried goods area. It’s yellow in color. They come in either rolls or wraps. Here I present to you a little recipe that utilizes dried bean curd rolls in a stew-type dish. It’s inspired by the vegetarian dishes my mother makes at home. It’s very simple, and tastes pretty good according to my taste testers.
Here I present to you Bean Curd Tofu Stew:
Dried Bean Curd Rolls
They are usually sold in dried forms, about 12 to 17 inches long. Therefore, prior to cooking it, I soaked it for a few hours in cold water and cut them to about 3 inches long. This is what they look like afterwards.
For more information on Dried Bean Curd, visit here.
Mushrooms, Scallions, and Napa Cabbage also go well in the stew. Originally, I wanted to use Shiitake mushrooms, but since I wasn’t able to find any, I substituted with white button mushrooms.
Scallions are good for sprinkling over many dishes.
Napa Cabbage (also known as Chinese cabbage) is one of the most popular Asian vegetables. As a college student, I loved it because it was inexpensive by the pound and can last a pretty long time in the refrigerator. Best part, I was able to buy it in the local supermarket and didn’t have to make a trip to the distant Asian market.
Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a big pot. Lightly sauté a spoonful of mince garlic (or a heaping spoon in my case, because I love garlic).
Next, combine the shredded cabbage, sliced mushrooms, and tofu into the big pot.
Add two cups of water. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice wine. Add sugar and salt to adjust to taste.
I also like to add some frozen peas. Occasionally, to add more interesting ingredients, I’d throw in a can of Buddha’s Delight or a can of Vegetarian mock meat made from wheat glutens. It adds a kick to it. (I don’t prefer to buy canned foods. However, it’s much easier for me to just buy these rather than to find all the ingredients.)
Bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for at least 15-20 minutes.
Garnish with the chopped scallions on top and it is ready to serve!