Roasted tofu mantou

TWO

An absolutely sensational combination, pulled from the recipe at Curious Nut.  Pork — obviously — substituted with bean curd:  Sliced about an inch thick and octagonally, roasted at 400f in the pork belly sauce until it was dry — somewhere about 2 hours, making certain it weren’t burnt — and done the night before.  To heat for the meal, the baked fu was sautéed in more of the sauce until warm — about 15 minutes.

The bun dough, also made the night before, risen, then fridged.  It rose far more than expected and could have been rolled quite a bit thinner, but not overly bread-y for the meal as they were.  Typical steamed bun recipe and very good.

Substitutions in the sweet chili sauce:  1/2 a yellow bell pepper and red pepper flakes for the fresnos:  turned out fantastically.

Topped with pickled carrot shreds, cilantro and crushed cashews — absolutely fantastic little dish.

Roasted Tofu Mantou           Serves 4-6

what you need:

Tofu
Tofu
10 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly bruised
10 green onions, cut into 3″ length
4″ ginger, sliced
2 star anise
3 stick cinnamon
6 tbs light soy sauce
3 tbs thick caramel sauce (for color)
2 tbs oyster sauce
4 tbs sugar
1 cups water

Mantou (Buns)
11 oz warm milk (1 1/4 cup + 2 tbs)
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
17 oz unbleached all-purpose flour (4 cups)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs oil

Chili sauce
2 red Fresno chilies, deseed one
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup water
1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbs cornstarch + 1/2 tbs water (cornstarch slurry)

Pickled mustard green
4-6 Chinese mustard green (leaves and stems)
Salt
Water
Rice vinegar

Garnish:
1/2 cup crushed peanuts or cashews
2 red fresno chilies, sliced
A couple sprigs cilantro

directions:

Roasted tofu

1. Bake Tofu: Slice tofu and drain.  Combine all ingredients for the sauce.  Bake at 400f in half the sauce until dry — about 2 hours.  Re-heat, or baste in the remaining sauce on the stove.

Mantou (Buns)

1. Activate Yeast: Combine the sugar, warm milk and yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes until a foamy mixture forms.

2. Knead Dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the oil and yeast mixture. Form a dough. Turn it over a work area and knead the dough for 10 minutes. The dough should be soft and supple and not sticky.

3. First Rise: Lightly oil the bowl, place the dough in, cover the bowl with a sling wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft free place until doug h doubles in size (about 1-2 hours).

4. Shape: Gently punch out the air of the risen dough and remove it from the bowl. Divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Shape each dough into a ball. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a flat oval (1/8″ thick). Brush some oil on one side of the dough. Fold the dough in half (like a half moon). Place it on a 4″ square parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Loosely cover the half moon dough with a clean cloth and let them rest for 30 minutes.

5. Steam: Bring water in your steaming vessel to boil over high heat. Once boiled, place the dough (with parchment paper) on a rack or steamer (leave 1″ gap as buns will expand) and steam for 8 minutes.

6. Rest: Turn off the heat and remove the steaming vessel from the heat. After 5 minutes, slowly open the lid. This is to cool the steaming vessel before uncovering. Too much temperature change may cause buns to deflate.

Chili Sauce

1. In a blender or food processor, blend the chilies and garlic cloves. Put the chili garlic paste into a small saucepan. Add the water, sugar, vinegar, lime juice and salt. Bring it to a boil.

2. Once boiled, turn the heat to low and add the cornstarch slurry. When chili sauce has thickened to your liking, remove from heat.

Pickled mustard green

1. In a sterilized wide mouth glass jar, add a layer of mustard green. Sprinkle with a layer of salt. Repeat with another layer of mustard green and salt. Once, you’ve finished layaring, add enough water to submerge the mustard green.

If you want it slightly spicy, add 1-2 red chilies.

2. Add 1 tbs rice vinegar and cover the jar. Let it ferment for 5-10 days depending on the temperature. It will turn a yellowish brown when it’s ready. The vegetable must be fully submerged in the water at all times or you’ll risk having mold.

3. Remove the mustard green from the liquid and dice it. If it’s not salty and sour enough, drizzle some soy sauce, add a pinch salt and some vinegar.

If this is too daunting for you, feel free to use commercially sold pickled mustard greens or other types of pickled vegetables like sweet radish or even kim chi.

To assemble

1. Slather some chili sauce on one side of the mantou. Top with tofu, drizzle some of the uber concentrated sauce, add pickled greens, crushed nuts, chilies and cilantro.

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