Bean curd in black bean sauce

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By Chef Ed Dychauco

Pots and Pans

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


AN EASY to prepare Chinese comfort food that is equally liked and loved by Pinoys and Tsinoys everywhere is this “salty” dish that can bring out the best in the kitchen for those quick fix for unexpected guests.

Tofu or bean curd is commercially available and cheap, especially those found in the market usually soaked in water.

With new technology, they are also packaged well in containers, which can last for some time in the refrigerators.

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Black beans comes handy in cans, plastic or foil-packed in the grocery isle though I have also seen them being sold by weight or “ganta.”

I guess my being a Tsinoy and having spent much time in Binondo when I was a kid opened my taste buds to several exciting culinary experiences and made me treasure my Chinese heritage.

But then, how many people do you know who doesn’t like Chinese foods?
The fact that our very own Pinoy dishes have so many Chinese influence and flavors, it won’t be surprising to see this in our day-to-day menu.
Say, tokwa’t baboy. What about humba with black beans?

Bean curd comes in a soft version and firmer varieties. Here, we use the firmer one for this recipe.

Depending how one uses this, the bean curd can be sliced into small cubes (about ¼”) or larger sizes (about an inch or two, or even a bit larger).
For the bigger sizes, I would definitely like to fry them prior to mixing them with the other ingredients.

One reason is I like my tofu a bit firm and crisp (when eaten right away!) plus it lessens the chance of breaking into smaller pieces when being lifted or transferred.

But when smaller sized tofu is used, the frying step can be omitted.
For the black beans, make sure to wash them before use to decrease the saltiness, unless one wants it really “salty”!

This is one dish where just these 2 major ingredients can be used or other greens be added for more flair, taste, texture & color, thereby making it more excitingly better.

Other veggies can include onions, bell pepper, carrots, broccoli, bokchoy or even eggplant.

1-2 pcs firm tofu, cubed
3 cloves Minced garlic
1 pc onion, quartered
1 pc bell pepper, quartered
Chillies or hot sauce (if desired)
1 pc carrots, cubed or sliced
Broccoli pieces, bokchoy or eggplant, sliced
Salt & pepper to taste

1/8 cup Soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese wine
1 cup soup stock or water
1 tsp corn starch

Fry tofu till light brown. Set aside.

Sauté garlic, onion and bell pepper in hot oil. Add the carrots and chillies.
Follow with any of the veggies mentioned.
Mix the sauce and pour into the pan.
Lastly, add the tofu and stir till well-coated and sauce is thick
Adjust seasoning.
Transfer to a platter.
Top with some sliced green onions if desired & a few drops of sesame oil.

Enjoy with steaming hot rice!

This is another Lenten meat-free recipe. However, ground meat of any variants can also be added to this wonderful dish, just before the “veggies” are incorporated into it.

[Email: potsnpans1976@yahoo.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 20, 2014.

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