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RECIPE FOR BRAISED TOFU WITH CORNS AND CUCUMBERS
Source: Adapted from 玉米豆腐炒 & 香滷一口豆腐 （松露玫瑰）
200g firm, extra firm tofu or pressed tofu (豆干)
3 garlic cloves (peeled and smashed with the back of your chopper)
2 units of star anise (八角)
80g corns (fresh or canned)
80g Japanese cucumbers (rinsed, de-seeded and diced)
2 tbsp light soy sauce (note 2)
2 tbsp mirin (Japanese sweet wine) (note 3)
- Rinse and pat dry tofu. Cut tofu into 1.5-2cm cubes. Place them on kitchen towel to absorb any extra water.
- Heat up pan with oil over high heat. When the pan is hot, carefully add tofu cubes and spread them out in a single layer. Beware of oil splattering. Reduce heat to medium. Let the tofu fry for 1 minutes or until lightly brown. Turn gently to the other side until all the sides are nicely browned. Remove and place on a kitchen tower lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
- Mix seasonings with a small bowl of water. Set aside.
- With the same pan, heat with oil over medium heat. Add garlic and star anise. Stir-fry until fragrant. Add in tofu cubes, stir in seasonings (from step 3) and add extra water to fully cover them. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook. Stir once or twice.
- When the sauce is thickened but not dried up yet, add water once more to cover the tofu cubes and continue to braise.
- When the sauce is almost dried up and thickened, turn the heat to low and continue to simmer. Use chopsticks to flip the tofu cubes so as to coat them with the sauce.
- Braise until only a little bit of sauce left. Discard garlic cloves and star anise. Stir in corns and cucumbers. Off the heat and cover the pan with lid for about 15 minutes (or longer) to allow the remaining sauce to absorb into tofu.
- It can be served with rice or congee, or even as cold side dish.
- Other ingredients and spices that you can add for this dish are sugar, ginger slices, chillies, five spice powder.
- I use sushi soy sauce but you may substitute with normal low sodium light soy sauce.
- Mirin can be substituted with 4 tsp sake (Japanese rice wine) and 2 tsp sugar. Alternatively, you can use Chinese rice wine to substitute sake.
- If you want the tofu to be softer, you can do one more round of braising by following step 5-7.