I love the light, silky texture and mild flavour of egg tofu. Pale yellow and usually sold in tubes, egg tofu is delicate and needs to be handled gently. Use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to cut it, and if you are pan-frying it, use a metal spatula instead of tongs to flip over the pieces.
Pan-fried egg tofu with pork, conpoy and snow peas
30 grams conpoy (dried scallops), about 2cm in diameter
150 grams minced pork
10ml soy sauce
10ml rice wine
½ tsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp finely ground white pepper
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch, plus extra for dusting the egg tofu
10ml oyster sauce
100 grams snow peas (mangetout)
3 spring onions
3 tubes (about 150 grams each) egg tofu
Cooking oil, as needed
1 Briefly rinse the dried scallops under running water then put them in a bowl and add 150ml of boiling water. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes, or until very soft. Drain the scallops, reserving the soaking liquid. Use your fingers to finely shred the scallops.
2 Put the minced pork in a bowl and add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil and one teaspoon of cornstarch. Mix to combine and leave at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
3 Pour the oyster sauce into a small bowl, add about 50ml of the conpoy soaking liquid and stir well. Slice the snow peas on the diagonal into pieces about 8mm wide. Cut the spring onions into 5mm pieces.
4 Cut the egg tofu in half while it’s still in the tube, then carefully squeeze it from the wrapper. Cut the egg tofu into discs about 1.5cm wide and lay them on a plate lined with a double layer of paper towels. Blot the surface of the tofu with paper towels.
5 Heat a skillet over a medium flame then coat it liberally with oil. Put some cornstarch into a shallow dish. Dredge the cut sides of the tofu with the cornstarch and shake off the excess, then immediately place the pieces in the hot skillet. Pan-fry the pieces on both cut sides until golden, carefully turning them over with a metal spatula. If the tofu sticks to the pan, drizzle in more oil. Put the pan-fried tofu on paper towels to soak up the excess oil.
6 Place a wok over a high flame and when it’s hot, add about 10ml of oil. Swirl the wok to coat it with the oil. Add the snow peas and stir-fry over a high flame for about 30 seconds, then transfer the pieces to a bowl. Put the wok back on the flame and add a little more cooking oil.
Add the pork and stir-fry until it loses its pink colour. Add the shredded conpoy and oyster sauce-soaking liquid mixture and combine well. Stir in about 50ml of the remaining conpoy soaking liquid. Scrape the ingredients to the centre of the wok and simmer until the pork is cooked.
Add the snow peas and mix well. Stir in more soaking liquid (or plain water) if the sauce is too thick; the sauce should lightly coat the ingredients. Taste for seasonings and adjust, if needed. Stir in the spring onions.
7 Arrange the pan-fried tofu on a serving platter then spoon the pork and conpoy mixture on top. Serve immediately with steamed rice. Serves four as part of a Chinese meal.
Egg tofu soup with sliced pork, conpoy, petits pois and glass noodles
This dish uses similar ingredients to the recipe above, but the form is very different. It makes a quick, light lunch or dinner.
Glass noodles, also called mung bean vermicelli, are usually sold in small bundles of varying sizes. In case of a large bundle, you’ll need to break it up, unless you are cooking for a crowd. To prevent the brittle noodles from flying all over the place when you separate them,take the bundle out of its wrapping then put it in a bag. Break (or cut) the noodles while they are in the bag to contain the mess. For this recipe, buy the noodles in a 50-gram pack.
15 grams conpoy (dried scallops), about 2cm in diameter
1 bundle (50 grams) glass noodles
100 grams thinly sliced pork fillet 5ml soy sauce
5ml rice wine
¼ tsp granulated sugar
A pinch of finely ground white pepper
¼ tsp sesame oil, plus extra for drizzling
½ tsp cornstarch
1 tube (about 150 grams) egg tofu
50 grams frozen petits pois
About 300ml unsalted chicken broth, preferably home-made
2 spring onions
A few sprigs of fresh coriander
Fine sea salt, if needed
1 Briefly rinse the dried scallops under running water then put them in a bowl and add 75ml of boiling water. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes, or until very soft. Drain the scallops, reserving the soaking liquid. Use your fingers to finely shred the scallops. Put the mung bean noodles into a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak until soft – about 15 minutes – then drain.
2 Put the sliced pork into a bowl and add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, white pepper, sesame oil and cornstarch. Mix well then set aside for about 15 minutes.
3 Cut the egg tofu in half while it is still in the tube then carefully squeeze it from the wrapper. Cut the egg tofu into discs about 1cm wide. Slice the spring onions into 5mm pieces.
4 Pour the chicken broth into a saucepan and add the scallop soaking liquid. Bring to a simmer over a medium flame. Add the egg tofu, pork, mung bean noodles and petits pois. Simmer briefly until the pork is cooked and the noodles are tender. Taste the broth and add salt, if needed.
5 Divide the ingredients between two bowls. Drizzle with a little sesame oil, add the spring onions and coriander sprigs and serve immediately.