Monday, December 20, 2010

Chinese squash with fermented bean curd sauce

On my last post, where I introduced my readers (and myself) to fermented bean curd, one of my commenters remarked that she grew up with this substance as a comfort food (and noted, as I had discovered, that it's not meant to be eaten plain but incorporated sparingly into other foods as a flavoring). 

This stuff hasn't taken very long to grow on me, after the initial surprise of it.  I get the "comfort food" thing.  Here's a more traditional recipe, based on this one, for fermented bean curd in a stir fry:

Chinese squash with fermented bean curd sauce
serves 2

1/4 lb silk squash (loofah) or winter melon (I used fuzzy melon, mo qua, and zucchini would also be fine)

1 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red finger-length chili, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1 square of fermented bean curd
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp water

1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 spring onion, cut into lengths, to garnish

Peel the squash or winter melon (or don't, if you're using a thin-skinned squash), remove the seeds, and cut into large chunks lengthwise.

Combine all the sauce ingredients, stirring to break up the bean curd, then set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok until smoking and stir-fry the garlic, ginger and chili for 30 seconds.

Add the squash or winter melon, stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, and stir in the sauce. Cover; reduce the heat to low, and cook until soft, 4 or 5 minutes.

Add the cornstarch mixture to the squash, stir well, cover, and cook 1 more minute for the sauce to thicken. Garnish with the spring onions.

You don't really taste the fermented bean curd as such, but it gives a pleasant sour-ish depth of flavour and complexity to the dish.  I liked the effect, and will certainly be trying more recipes with this ingredient.

The squash was served with a simple sweet and sour stirfry, along with some experimental seitan meatballs which were quite good but my recipe for those is not quite yet The One.


  1. This looks like a nice light and healthful meal. I really like the sauce! :)

  2. So beautiful and colorful. Your blog is a standing resource for when I get around to buying and trying all these wonderful ingredients.

    I made your seitan of genius on Friday, and it was so good and so wonderfully tender. Thanks for the pointers and info...I'll be using urad flour in my seitan on a regular basis from now on.

  3. Thanks, HayMarket!

    Rose, I'm delighted you tried the seitan, and even more that you liked it :-)

  4. I'm thinking I would really like fermented bean curd. I believe it's time to visit our super Asian store and get a few things.