Puffs Off

I quite like tofu and have had much success with it before, and find it lends itself well to many different dishes. After the sad closing of Crystal's Palace, I have had to find a new supplier for my tofu, so today I went on my first ever trip to SeeWoo. Oh my pie! It's a warehouse full of wonder and strange and exotic vegetables and more noodles than I ever knew existed. On top of this, all of the staff are really on it, we had barely lifted the last bag (which had been efficiently packed for us) out of the trolley and a gentleman appeared to whisk it away.

I also learned that it may actually have been me causing myself digestive issues earlier this year. Due to having Chinkiang vinegar and Shaoxing wine with the ingredients all written in lovely Chinese characters, I didn't realise that I was buying wine and vinegar that both included wheat and stupidly assumed that these are ingredients that wouldn't include the evil digestive killer. This is a mild annoyance as far as I was concerned I had practically mastered Chinese cooking with these two ingredients alone, and every time I used them a culinary masterpiece appeared on my plate, and now I've had to replace them with lychee wine and black vinegar and will have to learn to cook all over again. Bloody liberties.

Another new discovery today is the rather amazing looking fried tofu puffs. Unfortunately after trying them, I'm not amazed by the taste or texture. At all. On their own they are rather greasy and then in the dish they were chewy, difficult to cut and rather unsubstantial. I may be doing it wrong, but for the good of the dinner, leave the tofu puffs off. I really enjoyed this dish, but I would either substitute the puffs for actual tofu or just leave them out completely; they were more of an annoyance than a complimentary addition to the overall plate.

Returning to China
serves 3-4

bag of tofu puffs, (honestly don't bother)
3 cloves garlic, diced
inch of ginger, diced
1 chilli, chopped
handful of runner beans, chopped
handful or marrow, diced
1/4 cabbage, shredded
3 tbsp red fermented bean curd
splash of tamari
glug of lychee wine
splosh of black vinegar
salt & pepper
groundnut & sesame oil

  1. Heat a little groundnut and sesame oil in a lidded pan and gently soften your garlic, chilli and ginger.
  2. Dollop in your bean curd, stir and simmer gently for 3-5 minutes
  3. Splash and splosh your tamari and vinegar and stir, taste and adjust as necessary. Add in your runner beans and marrow, stir and then pour in enough lychee wine to just cover the bottom of the pan. Cook for a minute or two.
  4. Once simmering gently, plop in the tofu puffs (don't) and cover with the cabbage and then the lid and let it all simmer away for 5 more minutes.
  5. Serve over a bed of rice placing the puffs on top of the vegetable mix. (Just forget about the puffs OK?!
  6. Nom away. Ask for seconds. Nom some more. Now go and play rugby. Oh, wait, no that's me, you can watch TV or something or find your own hobby.


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