Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Jia Chang Tofu (家常豆腐)



Jia Chang tofu is fried tofu braised in a spicy sauce with a little meat and maybe a simple vegetable like bamboo shoot, a common Sichuan dish. I have noticed most people described this dish as 'homestyle tofu' which is not really correct. The two words Jia Chang (家常) though is the same writing as 'homestyle' in Chinese but when talking about Sichuan Jia Chang it means this is a type of cooking or flavouring like fish fragrant (魚香 yu xiang ) or numbing spicy (麻辣 ma la). The only thing homestyle about this dish is all the ingredients are common in most Sichuanese kitchen.

There are many 'homestyle tofu' recipes but not Sichuan Jia chang tofu.



This recips will feed about 3 - 4 people as a meal with other dishes

Ingredients are approx. More or less does not really matter.

500g firm tofu (firmer the better)

125g pork, cut into thin slivers
125g bambaoo shoot, sliced

1 tbsp of chopped garlic
1 - 2 tsp of chopped ginger
1.5 - 2 tbsp chilli bean sauce
about 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
dash of light soy
some sugar (to your taste) I find 2 tsp is about right
1 - 3 tsp medium hot red chilli, roughly chopped (if you don't like too spicy can leave out)
1 tbsp of cornflour mix with few tbsp of water
dash of sesame oil
about 3 - 4 stalks of spring onion (chopped)
1.5 cup of unsalted stock or water
cooking oil


Method:

  1. Cut tofu into 8 - 10mm thick slices in triangular shape or rectangular shape. Lay these on kitchen paper to absorb any excess water for a while. Then fry with oil till golden both sides. Normally these are deep fried but I fried them with 5 - 6 tbsp of oil in several batches.
  2. In a clean work heat about 1 - 2 tbsp of cooking oil, add ginger and garlic fry for about a minute then add pork and fry till browned, add chilli bean sauce follow by bamboo shoot and stir fry for a while then add dash of cooking wine and chilli. Add in the fried tofu and stock/water and bring this to the boil. Let the tofu braised for about 10 - 12 minutes till the tofu pieces have abosorbed about 3/4 of the liquid. Taste if salty enough if not add dash of soy and sugar to taste. Add dash of sesame oil and slackened cornflour to thicken. Then stir in 3/4 of the spring onion, plate up and sprinkle on the remaining spring onion.

7 comments:

  1. i really love your blog- i went out today, looking for the sichuan chilli paste (inspired by you). found a chilli bean paste as well as a chilli black bean paste, what should one ask for in english? i also had some Lai You at a restaurant, is that the same thing? i cant remem if i have asked you this before, but are you on twitter? many thanks for your recipes. theyre inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's chilli bean sauce/paste or lak-do-ban-jiang 辣豆瓣醬. These are my favourite brands http://shop.waiyeehong.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1538 which has no preservatives and made with soy bean. This one is from China made with fermented broad beans, chilli and chilli oil, quite oily but gives the dish a lovely red colour http://shop.waiyeehong.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=3626

    For the chilli black beans it's fermented black beans with chilli good for stir fried pork/chicken/prawn with sweet pepper or other vegetables. Could this the one you saw http://shop.waiyeehong.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=2006 I have never tried this so don't know any good, I got this in my cupboard to try http://shop.waiyeehong.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=0&keyword=hot+black+bean


    Take a look at this post http://sunflower-recipes.blogspot.com/2008/11/chinese-ingredients.html I had listed a range of Chinese ingredients incl. sauces with their Chinese name.


    Re the lai you, could this be lak you or chilli oil? Lai you sounds like cream sauce to me in
    Chinese.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry exromana I misread your question, you asked for sichuan chilli paste not chilli bean paste.

    Yes there are authentic Sichuan chilli paste but I have not seen any in England so can't help you. If a recipe is a Sichuan dish using chilli paste definitely not chilli bean sauce/paste you can sub with other Chinese chilli paste/sauce in a jar like these
    http://shop.waiyeehong.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1023
    or this
    http://shop.waiyeehong.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=933

    or just mince some fresh red chilli

    Sichuan dishes use a lot of chilli bean sauce though, using this sauce is fine too in many dishes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. hi, thank you so much for all this wonderful information. i was, indeed, asking about chili bean paste. i have bought this product http://www.sheungkee.com/tso_hin_kee_8.htm
    and was wondering what you think of it? is it the same type of product you use?

    i dont live in the UK, so i dont have access to the products you suggested (thanks for the reccies, though).
    i dont know if this product i bought is preservative-free (the one you suggested was, and i'd love to find one like that).thanks for your advice.

    regarding lai you, this is how the lady wrote it for me on a piece of paper (phonetically), she said it is a chili oil, which they make themselves in the restaurant kitchen; (the 'i' in 'lai' had an accent on it, dont remember whether it was slanting to the left or right, so the word could be pronounced lak, as you said).

    really love your blog, thanks for the help.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi there,

    This chilli oil from what you had described is definitely 'lak you' meaning 'hot oil' or chilli oil. This one you had is likely Cantonese style, very easy to make just cooking oil, chilli flakes, garlic, shallots and ground dried shrimps. I will post a recipe for you if you like. Here is another Northern Chinese (Sichuan) style Chilli oil without the dried shrimps. http://sunflower-recipes.blogspot.com/2008/06/chilli-oil-red-oil.html

    The picture of the link you have shown is chilli oil, original or extra hot, it's Guilin style I reckon from Hong Kong from the brand shown. I think I have seen them in London today, not sure any good not tried it yet.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Chilli bean sauce/paste is not the same as chilli oil.

    Chilli bean sauce/paste is made with fermented beans (soy or broad beans) and ground chilli. It's quite salty. Some Chilli bean paste/sauce like the one I'd mentioned before has added chilli oil. Chilli bean sauce/paste is a must have Sichuan cooking sauce.

    ReplyDelete
  7. thanks for all this wonderful information. yr blog is gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete

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