Tofu Puffs (豆腐泡)
You will usually see these golden yellow squares in cellophane bags in the refrigerated area of Chinese supermarkets. There are many different names for these little cubes including Bean Kow, Bean Curd Puffs or Tofu Puffs.
The beauty of tofu puffs is they are super absorbent. For this reason tofu puffs are usually cooked with stews, broths and soups. My grandmother makes stuffed tofu puffs for hot pots during the winter.
This stuffed tofu puff is one of the most popular hot pot ingredients in my home. The filling for the stuffing the tofu puffs is pork or beef mince mixed with chopped spring onions, demerara sugar, light soy sauce, grounded black pepper and sesame oil.
My grandmother will take a tofu puff, make a little hole in it and stuff the mince filling inside and cook in either a hot pot or with chicken soup.
Storage: Keeps refrigerated for several days
Preserved Bean Curd (豆腐乳)
There are many names for preserved bean curd includingfermented tofu, lufu, rufu, sufu, tofu cheese or soy cheese. This preserved bean curd is also known as “Chinese cheese” in Chinese cuisine.
This preserved bean curd is bean curd cut into cubes and fermented in rice wine. It is usually sold in glass jars or cans in Chinese supermarkets. There are different kind of preserved bean curd including fermented chili bean curd, red fermented bean curd, white preserved bean curd, stinky fermented bean curd and more.
There are also many different ways to use preserved bean curd in Chinese cuisine. Some Chinese people like to use this preserved bean curd as mantou spread. Mantou is a kind of Chinese steamed bun/bread. You can also stir-fry vegetables with preserved bean curd or use it for marinade chicken (You can have a look of my recipe “Chinese style deep fried chicken wings” which is marinade chicken wings with preserved bean curd.)
Storage: Keep refrigerated for several months
Dried Bean Curd Sheets and Sticks (腐竹)
This ingredient is also known as tofu skin, bean curd skin or bean curd robes. Bean curd sticks are made from the “skin” that forms on the surface of boiled soy milk.
You must rehydrate dried bean curd sticks before cooking. The best way to rehydrate the bean curd sticks is to soak them in cold water and leave it over night (at least 8 hours). Then drain the water and cut it into the size you like or follow the recipe instructions and prepare them following the recipe.
Bean curd sticks have a kind of meaty texture so in the East, many vegetarian restaurants like to use this ingredient instead of meat to serve to customers. Bean curd sticks are very healthy and are a good source of protein.
You can use bean curd sticks in stir-fries, stews, wrapping dim sum, deep frying, braising or more. It’s a very popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine.
I love to use bean curd sticks knotted and placed in stews. The bean curd knots look really cute and the bean curd sticks absorb all the broth so they taste really great but are also really healthy.
Storage: Keep in a cool place indefinitely.
Five Spice Tofu (五香豆干)
Some people call this five spice bean curd or pressed seasoned bean curd. This five-spice tofu has been pressed and simmered in water with five-spice powder and other ingredients. The texture is very hard and strong and you can slice and stir-fry it, make a salad or even add to a soup. It’s firm enough to hold it’s shape in any type of dish.
Storage: Keep refrigerated for about 1 week but if you open the package please use it as soon as possible.
Some bean curd recipes:
Chinese Style Deep Fried Chicken Wings - Delicious and crispy fried chicken wings. The Chicken wings were marinade in preserved bean curd and other ingredients to make this chicken wings extra delicious and special.
Vegetarian Country Stew - tofu puffs soak up savory sauce in this hearty dish
Vegetarian Eight Treasures - a spicy dish made with pressed tofu, vegetables and hot bean sauce
Edited by Liv Wan