The Many Faces of Tofu

Posted on January 23, 2013


Tofu or bean curd is produced by coagulating soy milk. Since its invention more than two thousand years ago, us Chinese have found infinite ways of using this rich source of protein. The main forms of tofu KuKu likes to cook with are the firm tofu and fried tofu puffs. Firm tofu is coagulated soy milk that is drained and pressed. It retains a lot of moisture and is firm outside but has a softer texture inside. Compared to soft tofu it is more robust and easy to handle. Fried tofu puff is made of a thin and soft variety of tofu deep-fried until they are light and brown in colour with a hollow core.

Then there is fermented bean curd. There are various types of fermented bean curd. Red fermented bean curd (nam yue) is produced by fermenting bean curd with red yeast rice and brining liquor for a deep-red colour and distinctively thickened flavour and aroma. White fermented bean curd (fu yue) is produced using rice wine and salt, with or without brine. Dark fermented bean curd (tou cheong) is made with cubes of tofu soaked in soy sauce.

In this recipe KuKu combined two forms of tofu to make a delicious vegetarian dish. The firm tofu is fried and then stir-fried in a sauce made with red fermented bean curd.


200ml peanut oil
6 pieces hard tofu, cut into 2.5cm squares
4 cubes red fermented bean curd (2cm squares)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cube chicken stock
½ cup warm water
200g snow peas
A few sprigs of coriander, torn to garnish (optional)


  1. Mash red fermented bean curd to paste in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of warm water. Set aside.
  2. Heat peanut oil in a wok or deep pan.
  3. Deep fry tofu briefly until the outside is golden brown. Transfer onto paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Remove oil from wok.
  4. Stir-fry red fermented bean curd paste in the same wok at medium heat. Add water, sugar and chicken stock. Let simmer for 2 min.
  5. Add fried tofu and snow peas. Stir-fry briefly (30 sec) and plate.
  6. Garnish with coriander.

Serves 4 (with steamed rice)

Note: Bottled bean curd paste originates from China and can be purchased from the Asian grocer. Red fermented bean curd (nam yue) can be replaced with white fermented bean curd (fu yue) or dark bean curd (tou cheong) to give a different taste.

Tofu in Fermented Beancurd Sauce2   

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