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Thursday, January 15, 2015

What to do with Chinese Fermented Bean Curd from Vancouver

I guess it was a happy coincidence the other day when my plans for a pork stirfry coincided with a new Chinese ingredient that Rob pulled out of his backpack at the end of the day.

"Joseph brought this for you."

Well, honestly, if it was anything other than a jar of strange liquidy red stuff with a label that I couldn't read, I would have been surprised. 

This spurred a texting frenzy where I ask our humanitarian a ton of questions: What is this stuff? How do I cook with it? Can I skip the marinading overnight and find a way to integrate into dinner right now? He gave me a few pointers before sending me off with a confident "play with it!"

So I popped the cap and gave it a sniff. I expected the sauce to be thick like a paste, but its as sloshy as thin paint and as bright red as blood. It's really bitter by itself, but can be properly tempered with sugar, cooking wine and a little soy sauce.

I have no idea if this stuff is readily available in most parts of America, but it sure isn't around here. I even went into the new Asian Market in Pullman to nose around and sure enough, no liquid fermented bean curd. For now I'll just be thankful I have a friend who takes frequent trips to Vancouver and brings us back cool stuff. 

Anyway, here's what I did, and I think it worked pretty well:

Bean Curd Sauce
three parts Chinese fermented bean curd
one part honey
one part mirin
two parts soy sauce
two parts sesame oil
splash of whiskey  

Heat over high heat in a wok for about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

For Stirfry
Add cubes of meat (I used pork) to the wok and cook until no longer pink. Remove from heat. Add vegetables (I used sugar snap peas, broccoli and asparagus) until slightly charred but still crispy, about four minutes. Add the meat back to the wok and top with the bean curd sauce until warmed over.

Serve over quinoa cooked in chicken broth. Hey... it's still healthy!

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