"Back in the day you would see old ladies in parts of the city of Chengdu, in Sichuan Province, selling this concoction – strolling around with heavy contraptions balanced on their shoulders shouting at the tops of their voices ‘Silken tofu! Super fresh and piping hot!’. The term tofu is extremely loose: there are hundreds of different types, ranging from extra-soft, to sweet, smoked, hard, compressed… the list goes on and on.
The best piece of advice that I can give you is not to bother attempting to make tofu yourself. The process is very similar to that of making cheese and takes days, and having prepared tofu for the restaurant for years now, I can tell you that it really is a palaver. And with so many good tofus readily available in Chinese supermarkets and even Western ones, your time is much better spent doing something else. For this particular recipe, it is important that you buy the correct type of tofu. In all Chinese supermarkets, the tofu is ordered according to its firmness. Make sure you choose the ‘extra-soft silken’ variety, as this dish is designed so that the tofu melts in your mouth without you having to chew."
This recipe is taken from A. Wong – The Cookbook, published by Mitchell Beazley.
Ingredients for Chengdu tofu
- 200g extra-soft silken tofu
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon chilli oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion greens
- 1 tablespoon preserved vegetables
- 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts
- coriander leaves, to garnish
How to make A. Wong's Chengdu Tofu
- Using a tablespoon, scoop the tofu into a bowl of just-boiled water to warm it through.
- When warm, spoon the tofu out into a serving bowl.
- Mix the soy sauce, oils, seasonings and sugar together, then pour evenly over the tofu.
- Sprinkle over the spring onion greens, then the preserved vegetables and finally the peanuts.
- Garnish with a few coriander leaves and serve immediately.