All my life, I've only known one type of Chinese blackbean paste. It was one of those glass jar salty black bean paste with garlic and some other flavoring, the one that has almost an acrid smell when you open the jar. Until one day, a good friend of mine introduced preserved black beans. As soon as I open the package, I can smell delicious, smoky and somewhat gingery flavor. This is a good stuff! It is far more superior, and only rely on salt and vinegar as a preservative. There are some ginger slices in it, but that's mainly for flavoring. I don't think I will buy glass jar black bean paste again.
I asked her how do I use this blackbeans, she explained that she would normally make black bean sauce with garlic, ginger, Shao Xing cooking wine, soy sauce, and sugar. So based on what she told me, I created this tofu dish that turned out to be really delicious. I hope you like it.
Fried Tofu And Cucumber With Spicy Preserved Black Bean
Recipe verbally given to me by Beatrice Hom
12 oz fried tofu*
1 (10 oz) cucumber, peeled, sliced
1/4 cup preserved black beans, washed - drained
1 tbs minced garlic
1½ tsp minced fresh ginger
3 tbs less-sodium soy sauce
3 tbs Shao Xing cooking wine
1/2 tbs sugar
2 tbs water
3 dried chilies, chopped (optional)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbs vegetable oil
* Any Asian grocery store will carry this lightly fried tofu, it is sold in a 12 oz packages. If you can't find them, buy firm tofu instead, drain it on a colander for about an hour. Cut into desire sizes, then fry in small batches on a medium to medium high heat until brown on all side. Make sure that your skillet is really hot before adding oil, so your tofu won't stick. Transfer to a plate, and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a wok set over medium heat. Add minced garlic and minced ginger, fry for a few seconds until fragrant. Add cucumber, turn the heat to medium high, stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add fried tofu, soy sauce, Shao Xing cooking wine, sugar, water, dried chilies, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir continuously for about a minute or so, until the sauce reduce in half. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve with simple steam Jasmine rice.