Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stir-fried Bean Curd and Chinese Flowering Chives in Garlic Black Bean Sauce....

Black Bean Sauce is one of my favorite things in Chinese Cuisine, something about that salty, earthy flavor really gets me. Since I haven’t had it in a while, and we’ve been on an Asian Food kick lately, I was really craving this long-time favorite. I just didn’t know what kind of stir-fry I wanted to make. The thing about Black Bean Sauce is that it requires a hearty protein, something that can really soak up that black bean flavor. You need a sturdy protein that can get coated and glazed in the delicious black bean sauce. Naturally I’d think to use seitan, only I don’t have any at the moment. My next thought was tempeh but wasn’t in the mood for the distinctive tempeh flavor. The next logical choice then is tofu, only I didn’t have the time to pre-bake or pre-fry the tofu to get it really firm. Then it hit me, why not use that package of Bean Curd I’d picked up at the Korean Market the other day? Oh, and why not pair it with those Chinese Flowering Chives I had sitting in my crisper drawer. Perfection!

Chinese Flowering Chives - or Garlic Chives, as they’re also sometimes called - are a relative of the onion family. They look kind of like a thin green onion - or chive - but they have little white flower buds on the end that taste more like garlic. They have a potent smell, but not a particularly overwhelming flavor. They’re great in stir-fry’s. Fried Bean Curd is a kind of tofu, it has a much lower moisture content then the regular tofu you buy at the store, and it’s been previously fried till golden. The texture is very chewy, very meaty, and it shreds rather then crumbles. It’s a great stand-in for meat in any dish, and doesn’t taste anything like regular tofu which may make it more appealing to people who claim not to like tofu. Actually both the texture and the flavor remind me more of tofu skin, then tofu. Fried Bean Curd stands up really well to stir-frying, and it paired amazing with the Chinese Flowering Chives and the Black Bean Sauce to make the perfect lunch.

Most well stocked Asian Groceries should have everything you need to make this dish, and If you love Asian food as much as we do then I urge you to go on a little scavenger hunt, and then make this dish.

Stir-fried Bean Curd and Chinese Flowering Chives in Garlic Black Bean Sauce

1 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 Tbsp Minced Ginger
3 Garlic Cloves sliced thin
8oz Fried Bean Curd Sliced into Strips
12oz Chinese Flowering Chives cut into ½ inch pieces
2 Tbsp Fermented Black Bean Paste
2 Tbsp Tamari
2 Tbsp White Wine
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Tbsp Chinese Black Vinegar
Sesame Seeds to Garnish

- First make the marinade. Add Black Bean Paste, Tamari, White Wine, Brown Sugar, and Chinese Black Vinegar to a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside until ready to use.

- Heat Sesame Oil in large pan over medium-high heat.

- Add in Garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and garlic is golden-brown.

- Add in Sliced Bean Curd and stir-fry for 8 minutes until golden-brown on both sides.

- Add in the Chinese Flowering Chives and stir-fry for 2-3 more minutes until softened and bright green.

- Add in Marinade, and let cook for 2-4 minutes until slightly reduced.

- Remove from heat, garnish with sesame seeds and serve over a bed of brown rice or eat as is.

*** Note - Make sure you read the labels on your Black Bean Paste. Make sure it is FERMENTED, and made with black soybeans. Do not confuse it with sweet black bean paste which is sweeter in nature and made with mung beans. Fermented black bean paste is more like a miso, where as the other kind of black bean paste is used like red bean paste in pastry’s, desserts, and other confections. *** 

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