Seriously Asian: Shredded Tofu

[Photographs: Chichi Wang]

For lack of a snappier marketing term, these bean curd noodles—also referred to as tofu strands or shredded tofu on the packaging—have been taking the place of wheat noodles in my kitchen when I'm in the mood for a flour-free staple.

Not to be confused with tofu shirataki noodles, which are typically made with tofu and yam gelatin, these thin strands of bean curd are found in Chinese markets next to cartons of fresh tofu. (Bean curd strands are also different from bean threads/cellophane noodles, which are translucent and made from mung beans.)

Like tofu shirataki noodles, shredded tofu is gluten-free and low caloric. Though they lack the elasticity of wheat noodles, the strands possess an al dente quality that makes them just as interesting to chew as pasta. The strands are sold in various widths, ranging from spaghetti-like thinness to wider fettucini-like widths.

Shredded tofu is also versatile: the strands can be added to soups and noodle-style dishes, or dressed in oil for a cold dish. In Chinese homes and restaurants, the noodles are often tossed in a spicy combination of hot chili oil, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Since shredded tofu dishes are just as delicious cold as they are hot, they are ideal for packing for lunch or a picnic.

Whether you're using the strands for cold or hot dishes, simmer them for a while in stock or seasoned water so that the bean curd will soften and absorb flavor prior to being added to a dish.

Stir-Fried Shredded Tofu with Vegetables

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Seriously Asian: Shredded Tofu

About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • Two 7-ounce packet bean curd strands
  • 10 ounces vegetables for stir-frying, such as asparagus, broccoli, bok choy, washed and cut into 1-inch segments
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • For simmering the noodles:
  • 3 tablespoons stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon, chili-garlic paste, optional
  • 5 stalks celery, julienned
  • One 7-ounce packet bean curd strands
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For simmering the noodles:
  • 3 tablespoons stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon, chili-garlic paste, optional

Procedures

  1. 1

    1. Bring a pot of water to boil and parboil the tofu strands for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  2. 2

  3. 3

    3. Add the parboiled bean curd strands to the wok along with the ingredients for simmering. Simmer for 4 to 6 minutes, until the strands are softened but still al-dente and all but one teaspoon of the liquid has boiled away. Add the vegetables back to the wok and mix. Serve hot or at room temperature.

  4. 4

    Shredded Tofu and Celery Salad

  5. 5

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  6. 6

    - serves 4 as an appetizer or side dish -

  7. 7

    1. Bring a pot of water to boil and parboil the tofu strands for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Parboil the celery for 1 minute. Drain and set the celery in a bowl of ice water.

  8. 8

    2. Place the parboiled bean curd strands in a saucepan along with the ingredients for simmering. Simmer for 4 to 6 minutes, until the strands are softened but still al dente and all but one teaspoon of the liquid has boiled away. Add the celery and toss to mix. Drizzle in the sesame oil and add salt to taste. Serve at room temperature or cold.

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