Beijing-style Guo Tie Tofu with Prawns
This Beijing-style dish popular among locals in China is often dished up at home and also enjoyed in restaurants. It is easily replicated at home in under 40 minutes! Tofu gives this Chinese dish a protein boost while prawns add zinc to build the immune system. Red and green capsicums are rich in vitamin A and C, and add crunch to this simple home-style dish.
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 2-3 persons
300g silken tofu, cut into 6 pieces
40g plain flour
B: Prawns, Black Fungus
2 red chillies, seeded and sliced
1 stalk spring onion, white portion only (retain green leaves)
8 large prawns approximately 300g, heads and legs trimmed
2 teaspoons small black fungus, soaked in water, hard bits removed
2 tablespoons Shao Xing (Chinese rice wine)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
½ red capsicum, seeded and cut into chunks
½ yellow capsicum, seeded and cut into chunks
1.In a rice bowl, combine flour and water together. Mix well. Batter is thick and slightly sticky. Coat tofu pieces in batter. Heat up oil in a medium and deep saucepan. Deepfry until golden brown. Drain tofu on paper towels. Set oil aside.
2. Pour 2 tablespoons oil (from above) into a claypot and heat it up over medium heat. Sauté chilli and white stalk of spring onion until fragrant, approximately 1 minute.
3. Toss in prawns. Stir fry until prawns turn pink.
4. Pour in wine followed by black fungus broken up into pieces.
5. Put tofu into claypot gently, taking care not to break them. Pour in 1 tablespoon oyster sauce. Add sugar followed by water. Reduce heat to low.
6. Cover lid and simmer for 2 minutes. Toss in all the capsicum. Pour in soy sauce and remaining oyster sauce and stir until incorporated.
7. Lastly, toss in green part of spring onion and stir it into mixture.
8. Serve piping hot with steamed rice.
TIP: Tofu choices range from egg tofu, firm tofu and silken tofu and are tagged according to recommended cooking method e.g. for steaming, soup, steamboat or panfrying. For this dish, opt for silken tofu; its smooth silky structure contrasts well with the batter coating.
TECHNIQUE: Guo Tie in Chinese literally means sticking to the pot. Coating tofu pieces in batter and deepfrying it prevents its tender structure from crumbling easily. As tofu cooks inside the claypot, batter coating will soften and adhere to the base, hence the name of this dish.
Catherina Hosoi is a cookbook author and founder of Culinary Hobby Class, a cooking studio where she conducts classes under her “Eat Happy, Live Healthy” concept. She has over 35 years of experience in researching, cooking and serving Asian cuisine. www.culinary.com.sg
Photos: Catherina Hosoi