Black Bean Tofu

Inspired by classic Chinese restaurant-style Fermented Black Bean dishes — this Black Bean Tofu dish has a pungent, umami flavor like no other. Warm and Cozy, perfect for the cold days.


Oil Free, Oven-baked Crispy Tofu

All you need is a block of firm tofu, a working toaster oven, and some salt. You’ll first want to press the tofu to remove as much liquid as possible. Then simply cut the tofu into small cubes, sprinkle them with salt, and arrange them one-layer on a parchment-lined baking tray.

Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for around 35-40 minutes depending on the size of your cubes, or until all the tofu pieces are crispy and golden-brown. Remember to flip them half-way to ensure even cooking.


Preparing White Asparagus

As opposed to regular green asparagus, white asparagus have tougher, more fibrous stalks. Thus, it is necessary to peel them (while it is recommended to peel green asparagus as well but not necessary). Because they have thicker stalks, white asparagus take longer to cook as well.

Preparation. Start by cutting around 1-2 cm off the base of the asparagus. From there, peel with a vegetable peeler from around 2-3 cm off the tip of the asparagus. Be very careful as white asparagus is less flexible and will snap if handled without much care. I usually also prepare a bowl with water and a good squeeze of lime/lemon juice — store your peeled asparagus in that bowl to prevent discoloring!


Black Bean Tofu (w/ White Asparagus and Bok Choy)

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by George L. Course: DinnerCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Easy
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

Classic Chinese restaurant-style dish using fermented black bean paste. Serve with freshly steamed rice and you’ve got the ultimate cozy meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 14 oz. block firm tofu, cubed

  • 1 head Shanghai bok choy (or other varieties), thinly chopped

  • 1 bunch white asparagus, segmented

  • 2 scallions, segmented

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

  • 1 shallot, finely minced

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

  • 3 dried chili peppers, seeds removed and segmented

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons fermented black bean garlic sauce, I used Lee Kum Kee’s

  • 1/4 cup room temperature water

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine

  • 1 pinch white pepper

  • Chinese Parsley, for topping

  • White sesame seeds, for topping

  • Thickening Agent
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon room temperature water

Directions

  • Bake the Tofu. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Start by pressing the tofu with a tofu press or some heavy objects for at least 15 minutes, draining the tofu of excess water. Then simply cut the tofu into small cubes, sprinkle them with salt, and arrange them one-layer on a parchment-lined baking tray. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for around 35-40 minutes depending on the size of your cubes, or until all the tofu pieces are crispy and golden-brown. Remember to flip them half-way to ensure even cooking.
  • Prepare the vegetables. Peel the asparagus and slice into 2-3 segments. Thinly chop the Bok Choy. Finely mince the shallots, garlic, and ginger.
  • Make the Black Bean Sauce. In a pan, heat up sesame oil on medium-hight heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic, shallots, ginger, dried chili peppers, scallions, and brown sugar. Cook together until aromatic and the brown sugar caramelizes. Add the fermented black bean garlic sauce and continue to cook, around 3-4 minutes.
  • Finish the stir-fry. Add in the asparagus and Bok Choy, and deglaze the pan with soy sauce, cooking wine, and water. Cook everything for 3-5 minutes, or until the asparagus is slightly tender but still has a crunch (the only way to know is by tasting it!). Once finished, add the thickening agent (cornstarch slurry) and stir until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat once thickened and add in your crispy baked tofu. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve warm.

Notes

  • White Asparagus: If you don’t have white asparagus, feel free to substitute it with regular green asparagus or other vegetables. If you are substituting with green asparagus, however, be more careful of cooking time as green asparagus have thinner stalks than white asparagus.
  • Black Bean Sauce: The sauce is made from fermented black beans and has a pungent, umami flavor like no other. NO substitutions! Find it at your local Asian grocery stores.

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see your recreations!

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Kaethe
Kaethe
1 month ago

Hey George, I am so thankful for your blog! The vibrant colours of your pictures and the delicious sounding recipes always make me drool. Making all those asian classics as a plant based version really gives me hope for my meal plan hehe. Also people who I make them for are raving about the umami you manage to get in there so well. I recently found a restaurant nearby that serves black beans as a dip for steamed buns and I completely fell I love with it so I wanted to make some fermented black beans on my own –… Read more »