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February 2014 Cookbook of the Month Companion Thread: ASIAN TOFU: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home. To post a review of any recipe, please reply to the original post with the name of the recipe and page number. If a report already exists (please check before posting), please hit the reply box within the original report. This way all of the reports on the same dish will be together.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Here are some of the recipes available online.

Spicy Tofu with Beef and Sichuan Peppercorn (Ma Po Dou Fu) http://ruhlman.com/2012/08/cooking-wi...

White Tofu, Sesame, and Vegetable Salad (Shira-ae) http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkint...

Panfried tofu with mushroom and spicy sesame sauce (Dubu jeon) http://tsusanchang.wordpress.com/2012...

Korean seasoned soy sauce http://tsusanchang.wordpress.com/2012...

Cashew and Cardamom Fudge [Soy Paneer Kaju Barfi] http://www.laweekly.com/squidink/2012...

Silken Tofu and Edamame Soup (Edamame no surinagashi) http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

Spicy-sweet fried tofu buns (Dou fu gua bao) http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

Tofu with kimchi and pork belly (Dubu kimchi) http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

Simmered greens with fried tofu (Saag soy paneer) http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

Chilled tofu with crunchy baby sardines (Jako hiya yakko) http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

Hot-and-sour soup (Suang la tang)http://houseandhome.com/food/recipes/...

Savory tofu pudding (Dou hua)

Tofu Pudding http://houseandhome.com/food/recipes/...

Seasoned Pressed Tofu http://smokysweet.com/cooking/andrea-...

Pressed tofu and peanuts in spicy bean sauce (Hua ren dou fu gan) http://www.king5.com/new-day-northwes...

Tea-Smoked Tofu with Pepper and Pork [Yan Dou Fu Gan Zhao Cai] http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/food...

Tea-Smoked Presssed Tofu http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/food...

Spicy Lemongrass Pressed Tofu http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/food...

Block Tofu http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2013/0...

Japanese Chilled Tofu (Hiya Yakko) http://www.booklounge.ca/blogs/2012/0...

Tofu, Seaweed, and Pork Soup (Gaeng Jued Tau Hu Sarai) http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/S...

Spiced Chickpea Crepes with Soybean Paneer Tofu Chilla http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03...

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  1. Thanks Sal! Anyone without the book certainly has quite a few recipes from which to choose.

    1. Tofu with Kimchi and Pork Belly, Pg. 145

      Made a half batch of this for lunch yesterday. Followed the recipe, in proportion, with 2 exceptions--no jalapeno on hand, so subbed a de-seeded red finger chili, and although I didn't weigh it best guess is that I used about half the amount of pork, as I had the pre-sliced for shabu-shabu in the fridge, and it goes a lot farther than hand sliced.

      What a fabulous little dish. We both like the robust direct flavors of Korean food a lot, and this lunch had us both wondering why we don't cook more Korean dishes.

      It also had me realizing that when it comes to COTM participation, what's "normal" for the fridge/freezer/pantry makes such a big difference. Here it is the 2nd of February and I've already made two tofu dishes, but am still trying to get my act together to cook a few from last months Latin American book before it has to go back to the library.....

      1 Reply
      1. re: qianning

        So true about the pantry, etc. There are things that just aren't going to happen without searching out ingredients. And one doesn't always have the time to do that.

      2. Agedashi Dofu, pg. 70

        A pretty straight forward Agedashi Dofu recipe, that works well. The only "twist" is the thickened sauce. I made a half batch to serve as a first course to dinner last night.

        As I was making it, it really seemed to me that the sauce might be a disaster; it is so different from others that we've tried. But in fact the flavors in the sauce were spot on.

        But as AN points out in the text, some like it thicker, some runnier. In this house it turned out to be a 50:50 proposition--Mr. QN loved this texture, I prefer the more traditional stock.

        1 Reply
        1. QUESTION: Is white fermented tofu interchangeable with red fermented tofu? The jar of fermented tofu we have is shown in the middle of the picture opposite page 13.

          I was planning on cooking Roast Chicken with Red Fermented Tofu found on page 117. Now I'm not so sure. MTIA!

          11 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            To me red fermented tofu is simply stronger tasting. For some dishes, substituting might yield a very different dish because the red fermented tofu is the main taste of the dish. The Roast Chicken with Red Fermented Tofu is one of those dishes.

            Otherwise, I have always been substituting one for the other. IMHO, you simply have to taste the dish and season accordingly.

            But then I'm one who'll substitute tahini for chinese toasted sesame paste when I ran out of one or the other!

            PS. Chicken with white fermented tofu is a common dish too. I've always made a stir fry with it. And a quick google found

            So it's definitely not an unheard of combination.

            1. re: lilham

              Thank you very much for your explanation, Lilham. I appreciate it.

            2. re: Gio

              So I thought I'd ask Andrea herself about the recipe and using white fermented tofu.

              Q: Andrea, can I substitute white fermented tofu in your recipe Roast Chicken with Red Fermented Tofu in Asian Tofu? That's what my husband brought home instead of the red. Are they interchangeable? TIA

              A: Sure. The color won't be reddish. You could tweak the flavor a bit by using the seasonings like that in the white tofu dipping sauce -- see the back of Asian Tofu. Or, how about making that sauce as the marinade???!!! I think it would be rather splendid. Let me know if you do!

              1. re: Gio

                How smart of you and how nice of her! Awesomeness all around.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  LLM, She's Very sweet and very generous.

              2. re: Gio

                Roast Chicken with Red Fermented Tofu, Pg. 117

                This was probably one of the most delicious, tender, juicy, succulent, exotic chicken dishes I have ever eaten. I absolutely Loved every bite. It's really indescribable because the flavor was so complex.

                We marinated the thighs and drums 9 hours; followed the recipe exactly except for using white fermented tofu instead of red. Still the cooked chicken had a good looking char, although the skin was not crisp nor did I expect it to be. But for us it was Perfect!.

                The flavor was slightly/mildly sweet but with a background note that I'd like to describe as funky but don't want to put anyone off. There's a flavor that comes through that wants to exert itself yet stays in the background and you simply have to take another bite thinking you can describe it. But you can't.

                The secondary dish was an eggless fried rice that included edemame, bean sprouts, and who cares what else, the chicken was the star.

                1. re: Gio

                  After such a tantalizing description, we are definitely going to give this recipe a try!

                    1. re: Gio

                      Sounds amazing. Adding it to The Eternal List!

                      1. re: Gio

                        Roast Chicken with Red Fermented Tofu, Pg. 117


                        Thanks to Gio's tempting review, I decided to make this recipe while my husband was away on business. I made this with two chicken thighs. High marks from me on this as well. Less than 5 ingredients, minimal effort and great flavor. The second piece of chicken made great leftovers on day two.

                        1. re: BigSal

                          Oh I'm so Glad, Sal! I've been meaning to get cooking from this book but somehow my plans have been waylaid. I have kept it by my side and fully intend to continue with it ASAP. We cook something from an Asian country every week so there's really No excuse.

                    2. Simmered Greens with Fried Tofu (Saag Soy Paneer) p. 121


                      I tend to gravitate towards the familiar and wanted to force myself to expand my repertoire which brought me to this recipe.

                      Cubed firm tofu is soaked in a mixture of hot water and salt and then drained. This seasons and firms up the tofu resulting in a firmer crust. The tofu is pan fried to crisp up on 3 sides and set aside. At this point, the dish reminded me of a Japanese-style tofu steak or Korean pan-fried tofu.

                      Onions, garlic and ginger (fine chopped in the processor) are sautéed in the remaining oil until they begin to caramelize (the recipe indicated med-high temperature, but I had to turn it down to prevent scorching) then add thai chile and cumin seeds for a couple more minutes . The tofu is returned to the pan, then the greens (combination of mustard greens and spinach previously chopped, cooked and pureed with water), salt and cayenne. This rests a few minutes and then finished with optional butter.

                      The dish was fine, but it didn’t wow me. Somehow the tofu and greens felt like two separate components. I wonder if this dish would benefit from making it in advance (like chili or soup)? And even though the recipe was not intended to be overly spiced, it seemed to be missing a little something.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: BigSal

                        Too bad this didn't work out for you. But impressed you took a stab at it. Mr. QN took one look at the soy paneer recipes and said flat out "No".

                        1. re: qianning

                          Too funny! Mr. QN obviously knew something I didn't.

                          1. re: BigSal

                            Not sure about that, but he has this odd quirk when it comes to vegetarian food--he thinks only folks on/from the sub-continent know how to cook it and it has to be the "real deal" so to speak. It is one of the few areas where he and I have been known to really disagree about food and what's worth trying.

                      2. Panfried Tofu with Mushroom and Spicy Sesame Sauce (Dubu Jeon) p. 103


                        Andrea Nguyen mentions that this is similar to a Japanese dish (tofu no kinoko ankake) that I enjoy, so I decided to try the Korean version.

                        Panfried tofu is topped with sautéed mushrooms (we used enoki, shimeji and oyster mushrooms) and topped with a spicy sesame sauce (soy sauce, water, sesame oil, gochugaru, sugar, garlic, green onion, and crushed roasted sesame seeds).

                        This hit the spot. Even my Mr. enjoyed the crispy tofu, sautéed mushrooms and punchy sauce.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: BigSal

                          This sounds really good to me, but for some reason unfortunately my kids are getting more and more sensitive to spicy foods. How spicy would you say it is? Also, I don't have the gochugaru, do you think the recipe would still work if I subbed aleppo pepper with a bit of cayenne?

                          1. re: Westminstress

                            The sauce has got some kick, but not overly so (think Paul Prudhomme's Shrimp Sauce Piquant). Even so, I think it'd be too much for children that are sensitive to spicy foods.

                            I think aleppo would be a nice substitute because it is also smoky, sweet and spicy. The sauce should still be tasty without the heat. Just be sure to taste to get the right balance of flavors.

                            1. re: BigSal

                              Thanks. I think I will try this very soon. I see looking at the recipe the tofu and mushrooms are cooked separately then topped with sauce so I could always set aside some tofu and mushrooms w no sauce or, even better, set aside some sauce for the kids before mixing the chiles into the adult version.

                          2. re: BigSal

                            Made this tonight. I used rehydrated shitakes and fresh oyster mushrooms. This time, I followed AN's suggestion and soaked the mushrooms overnight. For the sauce, I used Indian ground chiles (about the same heat as cayenne), which are, I think, a bit hotter than the Korean ones. The sauce definitely had a bite to it, but I like it that way. Everything else as directed. We liked this a lot.

                            Served with a Korean cucumber salad and kimchee fried rice.

                            1. re: MelMM

                              I learned about this on her website.and have started using the overnight soak for all dried mushrooms - at least when I plan ahead! I feel the flavor is noticeably richer and deeper.

                            2. re: BigSal

                              Panfried Tofu with Mushroom and Spicy Sesame Sauce

                              We had this last night and enjoyed it. I was able to get a nice crust on my tofu (yay!) and I used gorgeous enoki, shimeji and shiitake mushrooms, which were so delicious! My first time cooking shimeji and we loved them. For the sauce, I ended up making two versions, one with just aleppo pepper for the kids and one with aleppo + cayenne for the adults.

                              1. re: BigSal

                                Thank you for linking to this recipe; we had it last night and really enjoyed it. We didn't use all of the sauce, but it was wonderful mixed in with my steel cut oats this morning!

                                1. re: nonaggie

                                  I'm glad you enjoyed it. What a clever idea to season your oatmeal with the leftover sauce. Sounds delicious!

                              2. Stir-fried Tofu, Shrimp and Peas, p. 100


                                I chose this recipe because it wasn't spicy and seemed like a quick one-dish meal served over rice. Also my kids like shrimp a lot, so I thought it would help the tofu go over better. To make, you cube medium-firm tofu and soak it in hot water while you prep the shrimp and remaining ingredients (aromatics of minced ginger and scallion, sauce of salt, sugar, soy and rice wine). Another key ingredient is shrimp stock which AN instructs you to make from the shrimp shells while you prep the ingredients. In my case, I used peeled frozen shrimp, so instead of tossing them with salt as recommended, I defrosted them in a salty brine. I had some shrimp stock cubes in the freezer so I defrosted a couple of those to use instead of making a fresh stock. Cooking is straightforward -- you start with the aromatics, then add the shrimp and sauce, then when they start to turn pink, add the drained tofu, thawed frozen peas and shrimp stock. Cover and cook for three minutes. Add white pepper (I used black) and thicken with a cornstarch slurry.

                                This was my first time using one of AN's recipes. I found the directions straightforward and easy to follow. I was surprised by how much flavor the dish had given the ingredients -- no garlic, chilies, etc. The shrimp stock is very important to the overall flavor, and I would not bother to attempt this dish without it. I was quite surprised by how much the tofu cubes took on the flavor of the shrimp. I think the hot water soak helps with that. Also, I usually use a firmer tofu, but in this dish the softer medium-firm texture is really nice.

                                Although I liked this dish, my husband was lukewarm and my kids ate it but not super-enthusiastically, so I'm not sure I would repeat it.

                                My husband and I love super-spicy tofu dishes like mapo dofu, but my kids won't eat spicy food. It makes tofu cookery a real challenge, trying to find methods of preparation that everyone will like.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Westminstress

                                  Do you think clam broth (or whatever they call that stuff in little bottles) could work in place of the shrimp stock?

                                  Funnily enough, Lulu likes tofu *much* better than shrimp. And she'll swear up and down she doesn't like spicy food but as long as you don't mention to her that it is spicy most of the time she gobbles it up.

                                  I'm with you - I like really spicy tofu. But you know, that silken tofu/avocado dish from Every Grain of Rice is not at all spicy and was a huge hit here. So I'm game to try the less spicy stuff.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    I can't really recall what bottled clam juice tastes like but I want to say it would work, and if it was too strong/salty you could always dilute it. But the shrimp stock is actually really easy if you don't start with frozen peeled shrimp like I did. You just boil the shells in water for 15 min or so - you could easily do it while tofu is soaking and you are prepping the other ingredients. (After dinner I actually made some more with the leftover shrimp tails to replenish my frozen supply).

                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                      The problem is ... I often go the frozen shrimp route too. Just so easy to do the grocery shopping and save the shrimp dish for later in the week, knowing you don't have to worry about the sell-by date. The ones I buy don't have shell tails - maybe I need to look for those? How much shell do you need to how much water for it to have the shrimp flavor? I do love the idea of keeping ice cube trays of shrimp stock.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        She gives proportions in the recipe but I don't have it handy -- I'll check back and let you know.

                                        1. re: Westminstress

                                          thanks Westminstress. I appreciate it.

                                  2. re: Westminstress

                                    Hi LLM, this is how you do the shrimp stock (from linked recipe above):

                                    Note: For the shrimp shell stock, put the reserved shells [from 1/2 pound of shrimp] in a small saucepan and add 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Strain through a cloth or paper towel-lined mesh strainer. Discard the shells. Makes a generous 1/2 cup.

                                    When I did it with just the tails from 1/2 pound shrimp I just covered with water, boiled for about 15 minutes, and ended up with probably 1/4 cup.

                                    Hope this helps!

                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                      Thanks Westminstress. I appreciate that.

                                      I've just fried the tofu for tonight's dinner - and it was amazingly easy. I'm not a big fan of frying - all that mess, what to do with the leftover oil, etc. but this was so easy that I'd do it again no problem. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the meal comes out well (Lemongrass Tofu with Chiles).

                                  3. Tofu, Tomato, and Dill Soup, p. 78

                                    I wanted something light but flavorful, and this fit the bill. It could hardly be simpler to make. Sliced onions are softened in oil, then chopped tomato (I chopped whole canned) goes in and is cooked, covered, until thickened. Water, salt, and fish sauce are added and brought to a boil, then cubed tofu is added (AN calls for medium or medium-firm; firm was what I had on hand), and simmered for a few minutes. At this point, I made my only deviation, and add some sliced spinach leaves to wilt. After a taste and seasoning correction if wanted (I added a dash more fish sauce), chopped dill and a generous grinding of black pepper are added. I also took a suggestion in the head note and drizzled/stirred in a couple of beaten eggs. This was very savory, with a fresh green note from the dill.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                      I never would have thought to pair dill and fish sauce. Sounds delicious.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Yeah, I certainly never associated dill with Vietnamese food until encountering the Northern Vietnamese dish of fish with turmeric and lots of fresh dill (the internet tells me it's called cha ca thang long). I was surprised how much flavor this seriously simple soup gets from just onion, tomato, and a bit of fish sauce, without any stock, just water.

                                      2. Just realized I never posted about the dish I made from this book - Lemongrass Tofu with Chiles (p. 108).

                                        I liked this - it wasn't quite what I expected and I found it somewhat mild, but Lulu found it very spicy and my husband thought it was fairly spicy (he's been sick so not eating much, which might have had something to do with it). You cut tofu into small triangles and fry them. They can sit around for a few hours after that, which is helpful. Once the tofu is fried you heat your wok and add shallot, chile and lemongrass; stirfry until fragrant, then add sliced red pepper and green beans, add a bit of salt. Then add the tofu, sugar and curry powder. Once these have warmed up a bit add coconut milk and fish sauce and cook for a few minutes more. The amount of coconut milk (mixed with water) ends up being much less than I expected, so this was a fairly dry dish. Tasty though. Not madly in love with it, but I did enjoy it.

                                        1. Stuffed Tofu in Broth, pg. 94

                                          Yum. A perfect one pot meal for a winter's Sunday evening after an afternoon of skiing.

                                          My only adjustment was to invert the proportions of the shrimp and pork, simply because I had a 6 oz. packet of ground pork, and didn't want 2 oz of left over pork. And I ended up holding back half of the fried tofu simply because it wouldn't fit into my exactly small claypot.(recipe calls for 2.5-3 quart pot--mines 2.5, and no way would it all fit).

                                          Anyway, we had plenty, didn't even touch the rice I'd made, and glad I hadn't bothered to stir fry any veggies.

                                          1. Silken Tofu question- Has anyone made AN's recipe for home-made silken tofu?

                                            We gave it a whirl and ended up with pretty much a puddle of soy custard. Which sent us scurrying to look at other recipes, some of which seem to have higher proportions of coagulant, and some others which use a completely different technique (no steaming). As novice tofu makers we are a bit mystified....guidance welcome.

                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: qianning

                                              Sorry to hear that the silken tofu did not work for you. That's happened to me with block tofu before and it's so disappointing because of all of the time it takes to make soy milk.

                                              I've made both the silken tofu and the block tofu recipes from this book. I've made the block tofu a number of times (with nigari), but only once have I made the silken tofu. We used food grade gypsum as the coagulant (purchased at a local home brewing store) and steamed them in individual ramekins.

                                              Because there are only two ingredients, assuming that the rich soy milk proportions were correct, perhaps the gypsum was the culprit? AN has been great about responding to emails, she might have troubleshooting ideas.

                                              1. re: BigSal

                                                We also had good luck with the block tofu recipe from this book, also using nigari.

                                                Interesting that you used individual ramekins for the silken tofu--did you un-mold it or serve it in the ramekins? We were using a pyrex loaf pan--maybe too large a container for this recipe and novices! Our gypsum was also food grade from a brewing supply place.

                                                The rich soy milk recipe seemed to work well--we made an extra batch and had it as Chinese salty doujiang--excellent!

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  I thought the individual ramekins would be nice for presentation and easier to find space for them in the fridge. We ended up serving the tofu in the ramekins because there were not unmolding as cleanly as I would have liked.

                                                  I just googled Chinese salty doujiang...sounds delicious!

                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                    Found a picture. You can see where I had difficulty unmolding the tofu.

                                                    1. re: BigSal

                                                      Our posts crossed....just saw the picture. Looks fabulous to me! Ours was way less solid and way more weepy.

                                                    2. re: BigSal

                                                      Mr. QN wanted to use smaller containers and I nixed it....bad move on my part!

                                                      Meanwhile, salty doujiang, kind of an acquired taste, but if you like unsweetened soy milk, it is worth trying. We use the "recipe" from the Weichuan "Chinese Snacks" book, but there are plenty of others out there.

                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                        Are you making your own you tiao for the salty doujiang?

                                                        1. re: emily

                                                          Alas, yep.

                                                          Also a Weichuan recipe, we've tried scads of you tiao recipes, this one's about the most reliable. But using bread flour not AP. (Or adding wheat gluten to AP....still not sure which is the better technique).

                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                            The recipe in Chinese Snacks? Are you adding the optional alum? I had the best you tiao last weekend - perfectly fried and almost greaseless!

                                                            1. re: emily

                                                              Yes Chinese Snacks, & yes w/ alum.

                                                              Perfect you tiao are a joy. Ours aren't that good yet. The frying is OK, but can's seem to get them as "airy" as we'd like.

                                                        2. re: qianning

                                                          I made some quick silken tofu this weekend. If you have nigari, it's a snap.http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-tof... I made just half a recipe (1 c cold soy milk (store bought this time) and 1/2 t liquid nigari), Steam until the right texture about 10 minutes for me. Worked perfectly. I prefer using nigari to gypsum.

                                                          1. re: BigSal

                                                            Thanks for the link. We'll give that recipe a whirl next.

                                                2. Hakka-style Stuffed Tofu, pg. 109

                                                  Mr. QN's home-made tofu kick continues, and we put a block of it to good use making this stuffed tofu. At first glance the recipe looks very similar to the Niang Tofu on pg 94, but the final flavors are quite different.

                                                  We liked both of these dishes quite a lot. At the margin I'd say we preferred this one; there's a fair amount of ginger here, and that with the white pepper really enlivens the flavors. Or maybe it was the home-made bean curd that did it? In any case I'll be happy to make/eat this again. Never got a picture of the final dish, but here are the stuffed triangles ready to start cooking.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                    I've never had Hakka-style stuffed tofu, but now that will have to change. I bet the home-made tofu added quite a bit. Inspired to try this...now to find the time.

                                                  2. Chilled tofu w/ Crunchy Baby Sardines (Jako Hiya Yakko)

                                                    Mr. QN enjoyed this a lot, personally I'd still much rather have our usual Taiwanese version (silken tofu+soy paste+preserved egg+pickled ginger+bonito flakes).

                                                    However, those fried baby sardines (anchovies, in our case-not sure if it is a different fish or if how the label gets translated varies from one grocer to the next. We used the very smallest size available from a Korean grocery) were an absolute revelation --wow were they addictive, AN is right when she compares them to good bacon bits, I'd say they are better.