There was a Chinese restaurant in the city where everything in the menu was available at the take-out counter. One of my favorites was a dish called beef tokwa. The main ingredients were thin slices of sirloin and silken tofu. While I enjoyed it thoroughly, my kids did not enjoy eating tofu that had not be pre-fried. Which would be impossible with silken tofu.
When I decided to try to reproduce beef tokwa, I decided to use firm tofu instead and to pre-fry it to make the dish kid-friendlier. And, to economize, I used beef brisket.
Tougher cuts of beef are not only less expensive, they are also more flavorful. Cutting the meat properly–across the grain–is the key to make sure that they will cooked to tenderness within a short time.
300 g. of beef brisket cut into 1/8″ slices
5 small or 1 big cake of firm tofu
1 tbsp. of finely minced garlic
2 onions, halved and sliced thinly
1 tbsp. of fermented black beans (tausi)
1 tbsp. of dark soy sauce
1 tbsp. of oyster sauce
1 tsp. of hoisin sauce
1 heaping tbsp. of chili bean sauce
1 tbsp. of cornstarch dispersed in 1/2 c. of water
1 tsp. of sesame seeds
cooking oil for deep frying
Cooking procedure :
Cut the beef slices into bite-size pieces, about 2″ x 2″ inches. Season with soy sauce and pepper.
Rinse the fermented black beans (tausi). Drain well. Cut the tofu into 2″ x 2″ cubes.
Pour off but 1 tbsp. of cooking oil from the skillet or wok. Add the beef pieces and fry over high heat until the edges start to brown. Add the garlic, onions and fermented black beans. Continue cooking over high heat until the onions are soft. Pour in 1-1/2 c. of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium-high and add the fried tofu cubes. Cook, tossing occasionally, until almost dry. Mix together the oyster, hoisin and chili bean sauces with the cornstarch solution. Pour into the skillet or wok. Add the sesame seeds. Stir until the sauce is thick. Serve hot.