It’s always great to find a dish that translates into vegan even better than the original and here’s one. This has all of the things I like about good quality Chinese food, without the MSG and without the meat.
The key to this dish is the dow see or fermented back beans. They usually come in a bag and are salted. They are easy to find in any Asian market.
They are packed with umami. In Japanese, umami means, “pleasant savory taste”. It’s often called the 5th taste.
1 package Extra Firm Tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 Tbsp Oil
4 dried Chilis, Tien Tsin chilis are perfect.
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 piece of fresh Ginger Root, peeled and minced
1 Red Pepper, cut into 1/2 pieces
3-4 Green Onions, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 Tbsp Dow See (fermented black beans) rinsed, soaked, drained and lightly mashed.
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 tsp Sugar
1Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1Tbsp Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp Water.
Begin by preparing all of your ingredients. The key to Chinese cooking is to have everything in its place, prior to starting, As the French say, “mis en place”.
Create your sauce, by combining the fermented black beans, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and set aside. Also mix up your cornstarch and water mixture and set aside.
Heat your wok and add your oil. When it is almost smoking, add the dried chilis and quickly sauté until they turn slightly darker, then add the garlic and ginger root. Stir fry for 30 seconds and then add the red pepper and saute until just slightly soft.
Now add your green onions and stir fry for a further minute, add your tofu and cook for 1 minute. Add your sauce and when it is all simmering nicely, add your cornstarch mixture, stir it and when it thickens, remove from the heat and serve with brown rice.