My family (kids included) love tofu in any form. One of the most often requested dish is this Bean Curd with Shredded Pork recipe. Aside from the delicious spiced tofu, this dish includes tiny hidden surprises. Bits of dried shrimp and preserved radish give each bite a flavorful burst. Don’t let the idea that tofu is bland sway you from trying this dish. This Bean Curd with Pork recipe is packed with flavor.
Bean curd or tofu come in many different forms. The type of bean curd used in this dish is known as dougan or tofu gan. It is sometimes called baked tofu, spiced tofu or five-spiced tofu. It comes in small square or rectangular pieces. The tofu is pressed until firm, stewed with spices then packaged for our convenience. It's the spiced flavor that makes this dougan one of my favorite types of tofu. It can be eaten as is, straight from the package with some seasonings and toppings, or added to any stir-fry.
What's the Secret to This Shredded Pork with Dried Bean Curd Recipe?
There are two ingredients that makes this dish so flavorful - dried shrimp and preserved radish (chai poh). These ingredients were staples in my parents' kitchen while growing up and now my kitchen as well. Both of these additions are what make this dish so good. If you've ever had dried shrimp or preserved radish, you know what I mean. Tiny salty bits of crunch from the chai poh and briny umami goodness from the dried shrimp add a very nostalgic flavor and texture that bring me back to my childhood.
Dried shrimp works well with many Asian recipes. Don't let the small size fool you. As with any dried ingredient, the flavor is exponentially concentrated. Dried shrimp packs so much more flavor in its tiny form than its fresh full-sized counterpart. I like to add it to stir fried vegetables for a little extra flavor. Toss in a few to your favorite soup and you'll instantly add some umami. Add it to fried rice…yummy!
Preserved radish (chai poh) is an ingredient that I try to use often because it enhances every dish. It can be a bit salty but if you're able to find good quality chai poh, you can eat it straight out of the package. We eat it as a side dish with porridge. Mince some chai poh, add it to lightly beaten eggs, cook it in a skillet and you have Chai Poh Neng, a family favorite of ours. Have you ever noticed tiny salty, crunchy bits in your Pad Thai and never knew what it was, it’s probably chai poh.
If you don’t live near an Asian grocery store, these ingredients may be hard to find. You can find dried shrimp and preserved radish online, but your selection may be limited. You can omit both ingredients but I highly recommend them if you're able to get your hands on them. These ingredients are what elevate this Shredded Pork with Bean Curd dish. The surprises in every bite are worth it!
Marinate the Pork
- Combine the pork, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and Shaoxing wine. Mix well until the marinade is absorbed by the pork.
- Add cornstarch and massage it into the pork. Be sure to break up any lumps. Allow it to marinate for 20-30 minutes.
- Combine all the SAUCE ingredients in a small bowl.
- Heat a wok or skillet to medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil.
- Add garlic, scallions, dried shrimp and preserved radish. Stir fry for about 10 seconds. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Push the ingredients to the edge of your pan. If the bottom of your skillet is dry, add another tablespoon of oil, then add the pork. Use your spatula to break apart the pork. Fully cook and lightly brown the pork.
- Add the bean curd and the SAUCE. Toss all the ingredients together and stir fry for another 1-2 minutes, until the bean curd is heated through and all the ingredients are well mixed and evenly coated in sauce.