Special things

Egg Tofu

These dishes feature the incredibly delicious egg tofu. This is also known as “Japanese tofu” (in Chinese) or “scallop tofu” (in American, since it comes in tube form and is often cut into thick circular disks, which look like scallops).
Egg tofu is a special tofu made from water, eggs, and soy milk. It is possible to make it at home, but not easy. Buying it from the chilled section of a Chinese supermarket is easy.
Egg tofu typically comes in a plastic tube, which gives it its characteristic cylinder shape. It has a creamy yellow colour that is brighter than the typical off-white brick tofu thanks to the egg yolks that egg tofu is made from. Egg tofu is highly prized because of its rich flavour; it needs less preparation than brick tofu (no pressing required), and it is sturdier than Japanese silken tofu.
Egg tofu is typically sliced into coins or cut into cubes before cooking and serving. While egg tofu is not as fragile as silken tofu, you should be gentle with it or it may crack or fall apart.

To prepare egg tofu:

Cut the plastic casing open along the dotted lines. If there are no dotted lines on your plastic tube, cut along the shortest side of the tube.
Gently squeeze the closed end of the tube to push the egg tofu out of its case.
Slice or cube the tofu according to how you want to serve it. If you plan on slicing it, avoid slicing thinner than half an inch (just over 1 cm) or the tofu might be too thin and may fall apart when cooking.
Cooked egg tofu can last up to 3 days if refrigerated. Try to eat it as soon as possible because it’s delicious freshly pan fried.

Below are a few different ways to prepare it.

Stir-Fried Japanese Tofu

This first stir-fry is a common dish in Chinese restaurants, known as Riben Doufu (literally “Japanese tofu”). Sometimes it is braised in a clay pot with mushrooms, wood ear fungus, and sliced up sausages (similar to hot-dog sausages, though they can be eaten cold as a snack). Sometimes it’s stir-fried with green chilies and a hong-shao style sauce. It is usually double fried – first pan-fried to give the chunks of tofu a deliciously browned skin, and then stir-fried with the rest of the ingredients and the sauce.
This dish is simple but savoury. If you want it a bit more spicy, use green chillies or pointed peppers, instead of round peppers, and if you like you can add some sliced pork. In Chinese cooking tofu is freely mixed into meat dishes. If you don’t like oyster sauce, you can substitute something else – perhaps some more soy sauce (OK) or fermented yellow-bean sauce (better).

50g Egg Tofu
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, cut into chunks
12 medium fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
½ tsp chicken powder (or vegetable bouillon)
1  tsp cornflour
2 tbsp water (and more for thinning sauce)
Neutral tasting cooking oil (not olive oil)

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, oyster sauce, chicken powder, cornflour, and water. Set sauce aside.
Remove tofu from package and cut into ¾ inch chunks. Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil in a [an or wok over high heat. When hot (it should shimmer), add the tofu. Fry, stirring occasionally – and gently – until the tofu is browned on all sides, about 4 min. Remove the tofu with a slotted spoon and set aside.
In the wok with the remaining oil, reduce heat to medium-high. Stir-fry the mushrooms until they start to soften, and then add the green peppers and minced garlic. Toss the mixture around a few times to cook the peppers, without softening them, about 30 seconds. Add the fried tofu and stir-fry carefully, making sure you don’t break the chunks of tofu, until just heated through, less than a minute.
Add the sauce, and stir into the mixture until bubbly and thickened, less than 30 seconds. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more water and stir it in thoroughly.
Serve immediately with steamed white rice.

Simple egg tofu

1/2 bowl flour (e.g. cornflour)
2 spring onion chopped
3 medium cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
3 teaspoons ketchup
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 bowl water
3 tubes Japanese tofu cut into small pieces of 1cm

Put tofu into flour, make each side of tofu covered with a thin layer of flour.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan, add tofu and fry until each side becomes golden. Transfer it on a plate and set aside.
Make the sauce mixture, combine water, ketchup, sugar, light soy sauce, vinegar, salt, and 1 tablespoon flour in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat pan with oil, and stir-fry garlic until fragrant.
Pour the sauce mixture in the pan and continue cooking under middle heat until the mixture thickens.
Add the tofu to the pan and stir a few times. Then transfer it into a large bowl. Garnish with sliced spring onion.
Serve with rice or noodles.

Spicy Egg Tofu with DouBanJiang (Sichuan chilli-bean paste)
I found this microwave recipe online – haven’t tried it, but there’s no frying involved

2 tubes of egg tofu (about 300 gram), cut into 1 inch thick rounds
2 spring onions, the white parts thinly sliced and the green parts cut into long ribbon
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chilli bean paste (Chinese: dou ban jiang)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon sunflower oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Arrange egg tofu rounds on a microwave safe plate. Top with white parts of spring onion, ginger, dou-ban-jiang, and sugar. Microwave on 450 Watt for 3 minutes. Set aside.
Mix sunflower oil and minced garlic in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on 450 Watt for 1 1/2 minute. Remove from microwave, then add soy sauce and mix well.
Scatter green parts of spring onion on top of the egg tofu, then pour the garlic soy sauce oil.
Serve immediately with steamed white rice.

Egg Tofu with Minced Pork and Salted Black Beans

Main ingredients
500 gr egg tofu
1 Tbsp cooking oil
200 gr minced pork/ground pork or ground meat of your choice
1 cup chicken stock
To marinate meat:
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp Chinese black beans
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 tsp soy sauce or more to taste
1 tsp sugar
To thicken the sauce:
1 Tbsp corn flour
2 Tbsp water
1 stalk spring onion finely chopped

Cut the egg tofu into about 1-inch slices. Mix the cornflour with water to thicken the sauce later
Put the meat in the bowl along with marinade ingredients. Stir to combine and let it marinate while you are preparing other things
Preheat a large pan or wok with cooking oil over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the tofu slices and pan fry until they are golden brown on both sides. You can see a thin crust form on the surface of the tofu. Remove from the heat and arrange on a serving platter.In the same pan or wok, add aromatics and stir fry for about 1 minute.
Add the pork and stir fry until the pork just started to turn colour and no longer pink.
If you want to add vegetables like broccoli or carrots, add them here.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer and then cover with a lid briefly to cook the vegetables until they are soft, but not mushy. Add the seasonings and stir to mix everything for about 30 seconds.
Once it boils, gives the cornflour slurry a stir and pour into the pan or wok. Continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Have a final taste and add more soy sauce and/or sugar if needed. It should be savory in taste
Remove from the heat and pour the meat sauce over the pan-fried egg tofu. Garnish with chopped spring onion and serve immediately.

Stir-fried vegetables with egg tofu

This one is fairly dry – if you prefer a saucier version, just add a little cornflour in water.

Also nicked from a website (the address is on the photo)

1 large onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 packet egg tofu
3/4 cup broccoli florets
6 snow peas
1/2 cup red bell pepper
3/4 tbsp oil
1 tsp oyster sauce (a bit more, if you’re adding cornflour-water)
A pinch of salt
Oil to fry the egg tofu
Water to blanch the veggies

Slice the egg tofu and fry till golden brown. 
Once the tofu slices are done, remove from heat and place them on a kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil.
In a pot, bring to boil some water. Once it has started boiling, reduce the heat and start blanching the veggies. Blanch the veggies one after another, separately. Make sure to blanch for less than a minute, so they’re still crunchy.
Once blanched, remove the vegetables from the hot water and immediately place them in a bowl of cold water to stop them cooking, and remove them from there after a while.
In a wok/pan heat 3/4 tbsp oil and sauté the onion and garlic till soft and fragrant.
Add the oyster sauce and a pinch of salt and continue to saute for a few more seconds.
Add the blanched veggies and fried egg tofu and give a quick toss. If you’re adding cornflour-water, do it now and stir for another minute or so.
Remove from heat and sprinkle on some chopped spring onions.

Egg tofu and aubergine

Cooking the aubergine might take about 10 minutes to get it to a soft, delicate texture. An important step to do before cooking the aubergine is to soak it in some salt water for about 15 minutes, as this prevents it from absorbing too much oil and becoming soggy and oily.

8 ounce egg tofu
2 Chinese aubergines
150 grams ground pork
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp spring onions chopped
1 tbsp cornflour
sunflower oil for cooking
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp sesame oil
3/4 cup water
5 tbsp chicken broth
3/4 tbsp cornflour
3 tbsp water

Cut the egg tofu into 2 cm thick circular disks and lay flat on a paper towel for 5 minutes on each side. Pour about 1 tablespoon of cornflour on a plate and dip each flat side of the egg tofu in cornflour. Set aside.
Cut aubergine into long strips and soak in salted water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain off water and pat aubergine dry using paper towel.
To make the sauce mixture, combine 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce, 5 tbsp chicken broth, 1/4 tsp sesame oil, and 3/4 cup water in a bowl. Set aside.
Add about 1 tablespoon of oil on a pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the aubergine and stir fry for about 8-10 minutes or until soft and tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a cooking pan and heat over medium high heat. Gently place the egg tofu disks flat on the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
In a small bowl, combine 3/4 tablespoon of cornflour with 3 tablespoons of water and mix well to make a cornflour slurry. Set aside.
In a large pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and stir fry until fragrant and tender.
Add in the ground pork and separate into smaller bits. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until brown or no longer pink. Add in the sauce mixture and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour in the cornflour slurry and mix well. Bring the sauce to a boil and the sauce should be thicker and more consistent, but still runny. Mix in the fried egg tofu, aubergine, and spring onion and toss together gently until everything is coated with the sauce.
Remove from heat and serve with hot white rice.

Egg tofu and shrimp

It doesn’t have to be shrimp, you could use crab or other seafood (e.g. calamari) or a mixture.

As above: cut the egg tofu into 2 cm thick circular disks and lay flat on a paper towel for 5 minutes on each side. Pour about 1 tablespoon of cornflour on a plate and dip each flat side of the egg tofu in cornflour. Set aside.
Peel the shrimp (or shell other seafood).
Prepare a sauce as above, and a cornflour/water slurry as above.
Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a cooking pan and heat over medium high heat. Gently place the egg tofu disks flat on the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from heat and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Stir-fry sliced garlic and ginger, then add the vegetables and cook until half-ready. Add the shrimp/seafood and stir until almost cooked.
Add the sauce, bring to a simmer, add the egg tofu, stir and then add the slurry and bring to a boil.
Cook to your desired consistency of sauce, and serve.

Japanese tofu with seafood and vegetables (this one’s a bit oily)

Chinese Toon

Chinese toon is grown as a decorative plant in the West, but is just not available as a vegetable. You could buy some seeds and try growing it, but that will take a year or two.

Sadly, there is no suitable substitute. It is usually chopped and cooked with eggs in an omelette, or stir-fried with tofu. It is really delicious and very popular in the short season it is available.


As the name indicates, this is a relation of prawns and shrimps (Xia in Chinese). It looks like a prehistoric ancestor. I have found it as “Mantis shrimp” in an American reference (although it is much too big to be a shrimp), being 4-6 inches long

Pipixia is simply boiled, like lobster. Sometimes a rather horrible-looking greenish-black liquid comes out. Rinse that away with boiling water.

They are very hard to open, as the shells are extremely tough, but the meat is delicious.

%d bloggers like this: