Join the Discussion
is the best Way to Soften Bean Curd Sticks?"
These are golden squares of
bean curd that have been
deep-fried. You'll find
them in cellophane bags in the refrigeration section of Asian markets, sold under a
variety of names, such as Bean Kow or Bean Curd Puffs or Tofu Puffs.
Deep-frying makes them very chewy.
The beauty of deep-fried bean curd is that it
becomes super absorbent. That's why tofu puffs are popular in stews (it's best to briefly blanch them
before using to remove excess oil). However, I confess I have an addiction
to eating them right out of the bag. Other people indulge in slices of
cheese or a carton of ice cream during their midnight raids at the refrigerator
- I devour tofu puffs. At least it's healthier! Storage: Keeps
refrigerated for several days
Forget everything you've heard about tofu tasting
bland: preserved bean curd has a pungent aroma similar to strong cheese.
Not surprisingly, its nickname is "Chinese cheese." Also known as fermented or wet bean curd,
preserved bean curd consists of cubes of bean curd that have been fermented
in rice wine. It is sold in glass jars in Asian markets. My favorite
variety is red preserved bean curd, made with fermented red rice.
Preserved bean curd comes with a variety of seasonings, from chilies to sesame
Preserved bean curd is frequently served with rice and is a
popular addition to congee, but you can also add it to stir-fries and braised
dishes. I took a tip from Dom's
Cultured Food of Asia site and tried some spread on toast with sesame
seeds sprinkled over. I found it a bit overpowering for breakfast, but you
might want to try it. Storage: Keep refrigerated for several months
Bean Curd Sheets and Sticks
Also called bean curd skins or Chinese yuba, these are made from the skin that
forms on soymilk when it is heated. Dried bean curd comes in many shapes -
the sheets and sticks are two of the more common ones. The sticks resemble
yellow icicles, while bean curd sheets are flat squares. Normally dried
bean curd is reconstituted prior to using, unless it is being simmered or the
dish is meant to be quite crispy. My favorite dish is vegetarian bean curd
rolls, where the sheets are simmered in seasoned water in the wok, and then
wrapped with seaweed. Storage: Keep in a cool place indefinitely.
If the idea of draining a block of regular tofu to make it more absorbent - and
thus flavorful -
doesn't appeal to you, try this convenient alternative. The bean curd has
been pressed and simmered in water with five-spice powder and other
ingredients. Just slice and stir-fry or add to soups - it's firm enough to
hold its shape in any type of dish. Storage: Keeps refrigerated for
about 1 week.
This Week's Recipes...
Bean Curd Rolls with
Seaweed - nori, the seaweed used in sushi, is wrapped in marinated
bean curd sheets
Fried Mock Oyster - made with bean
curd sheets and mashed firm tofu
Ham - an appetizer roll made with bean curd sheets
Spicy Tofu Stir-fry - made with pressed
Vegetarian Country Stew - tofu puffs soak up
savory sauce in this hearty dish
Vegetarian Eight Treasures - a spicy dish made
with pressed tofu, vegetables and hot bean sauce
**New to the Chinese Cuisine Site? You'll find a complete guide to help you
find your way around here.
Tofu Puffs Photo
copyright 2002 by Rhonda Parkinson