Monday, December 12, 2011

TTT: Taiwanese Tofu with Tomato




Ok, the TTT name is my invention, but the recipe is really Taiwanese. Several years ago I had a Taiwanese baby-sitter, she was also vegetarian (in Taiwan there is a strong vegetarian Buddhist tradition) and she didn't cook with garlic, onion, chives and leeks (this is the old Buddhist tradition). She taught me a lot of recipes... no, not recipes, maybe I should say 'ways of cooking'.

This recipe is so basic that I almost thought of not putting it on the blog, but the fact is that it is quite amazing!! In my Italian brain I never thought of combining tomatoes with tofu and soy sauce this way, it didn't feel right, and I was quite skeptical when she showed it to me. And then I tasted it: WOWOWOW, it works!

And not only it works, the kids love it, and it is so easy and quick... and in a way it feels so ... ethical!
Yes, just a few low cost ingredients, not much time or energy needed, and lots of proteins.

I usually used some red ripe tomatoes, but I had some ripe little orange tomatoes to finish, and so they went: cut and placed into the frying pan/wok/pot with a little vegetable oil (olive oil works well) and a small pinch of salt. Of course you could also add garlic, but the original recipe, as I said before, doesn't allow for allium of any type. Cook on high, stirring constantly, when the tomatoes start to mush into a sauce add the cubed tofu, stir and then add one or two tbs of soy sauce (I use only Japanese soy sauce, Kikkoman or Yamasa) and stir until the tofu is really hot (a couple of minutes only). Top with fresh chopped coriander if you like, and serve immediately with rice or noodles.


Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

19 comments:

  1. Great name for kids to remember which dish they liked. :-) tomato and soy sauce actually works and we always put 1 tsp to 1 tbsp of soy sauce at the end of making meat sauce. It adds "koku" (if you know this Japanese meaning... I don't know how to translate it, maybe savory?). I should try cooking this dish! I'm in Taiwan now and great to read about Taiwan dish!

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  2. Wow you are in Taiwan now Nami? Will you post about it?
    I like the term koku, I know the term umami, but I didn't know koku :-), thank you for letting me know.

    Ciao
    Alessandra

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  3. Yum! Tofu is one of my staple foods for nights when I am desperately short of ideas! This looks great.

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  4. Sounds really interesting - not being a tofu lover, you might have convinced me to give it ago.
    Love the umami and koku references!!!

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  5. I have to give it a try!Looks yummy!xxx

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  6. Tofu is a great ingredient to cook with. We use it a lot in Asian cooking, I'm sure you know. My maternal family who are Hainanese, cook it a little different from my paternal side, who are Hokkien. Then there's my stepmother's Cantonese style dishes. And tofu is featured in one way/form or the other. I love it!

    My mum only uses Kikoman as well. But I'm happy with Lee Kum Kee. I never touch the China-made brands though - had a very bad experience!

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  7. Dear Alessandra
    I love tofu too as well as the Chinese cusine in general. I like the way you match this "fusion" cusine..the best of everything.
    Here my blog with some Italian flavour:
    http://shanghailadycarnetdevoyage.blogspot.com/2011/12/i-viaggi-della-marco-polovolkswagen.html

    ciao e grazie del commento su Urban Sketcher Italy
    Shanghailady (simonetta)

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  8. Magari uso i pompdori congelati del papà!Baci

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  9. This does sound good! Like you, I wouldn't think to use tomatoes with tofu like that...but fried tomatoes are so delicious and sometimes the simple dishes are the most exquisite.

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  10. "if you like", you wrote?
    come fa a non piacermi questa bontà, impossibile, devo farla prima possibile. solo una domanda: i pomidoro non sono di stagione qui, secondo te se uso i pelati in scatola perde tanto tanto????
    dimmi che non perde tanto, please ^^
    diventa senza dubbio una delle "insostituibili", grazie davvero di averla svelata :)
    Barbara

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  11. Interesting, two flavours or items that aren't seen together very often.

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  12. @ Sugar and Spice, I would love to try some of your grandparents' recipes for tofu! I prefer Japanese soy sauce maybe because I am more used to it, but also it has a mild flavour, I had Chinese soy sauce in China, no choice, but at home I don't use it.

    @ Shangailady, thank you and welcome :-)

    @ Saretta, fammi sapere :-)

    @ Rose, I think that you would like this!

    @ Bibi, hai ragione siamo al contrario con le stagioni, ma non ho mai provato con i pomodori in scatola, quindi tocca a te fare l'esperimento, non penso che 'perda', ma sicuramente il sapore sara' diverso!
    Ovviamente con i pomodori freschi e' perfetto per l'estate, visto che si cuoce in pochi minuti! Con i pelati ovviamente sara' un sapore piu'... invernale :-).

    Ciao
    Alessandra

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  13. This is a beautiful, thrifty mid-week meal fix... perfect for my vegetarian family! So glad to have stumbled across your lovely blog!

    - Catherine @ The Spring (in Brisbane)

    http://www.thespringblog.com

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  14. Interesting tidbit about the old tradition of not eating alliums either, learn something new every day! I actually nearly made this tonight but didn't have enough tomato... next time! (I also thought it might be good with some softly folded scrambled egg on the side, and some spring onion, but that would definitely be breaking with tradition, eh ;))

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  15. Welcome Catherine, I will come and visit you :-)

    @ Milliemirepoix, I did different version, with chlli, with garlic and chilli (breaking the Buddhist tradition), with olive oil, garlic and oregano (Italian style) but in the end I always go back to the super basic original recipe. Scrambled eggs may not be necessary, as tofu is all protein and a good egg substitute, I would go for carbo, like rice or noodles.

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  16. I have a few family members that eat vegetarian due to buddhist believes, but I didn't know about the garlic thing. Interesting! I'm not sure they stir up sexual appetites, but I sure do like the taste. My Chinese mother would cook a similar dish with soft scrambled eggs.

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  17. Sono spesso alla ricerca di nuove ricette per insaporire il tofu...grazie quindi per la bella idea ^__^!

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  18. This sounds yum! I make something similar that's a riff on a dish my Vietnamese mother-in-law makes. They use a lot of tomatoes in their stir-fry type vegetarian dishes, delicious!

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