|Chinese tofu and spinach salad|
It really feels like summer is here now … let’s pretend that we don’t know the forecast for next week yet. :)) Sunny and warm is lasting forever…
People are taking a stroll followed by their own shadow, I can almost see the colour of shadow in Impressionist paintings… I had begged the clouds to go away for a long long time, so that the sun could let my shadow come out, and we play hide and seek…I have never felt Oxford is so beautiful and peaceful like this before.
Chinese Liang Cai
Ok, food…Tofu and spinach – salad, if you call it in English? We call it Liang Cai in Chinese, as in “Cool dish”. (Liang means cool, Cai means dish. ) Liang Cai are very important for Northern Chinese people, especially in summer. Almost every time people go to restaurants, they have to order one or two cool dishes.
Liang cai can be made from green leaves, fresh vegetables, tofu, vermicelli (fen si) to eggs, beef and liver. Oh, too many, I cannot even finish naming them all, but they will surely all show up here, if you are not getting bored already. :)))
Tofu and Spinach in Northern Chinese Cuisine
Tofu and spinach is very ‘traditional’ combination in my region. But… ok, I admit that I invented this dish myself. :) It is because the spinach in Chinese dishes is different to the ones you can get in the supermarket here. In China we don’t have this ‘kind’ of spinach – chopped, washed, packed.
The one we normally use is as whole spinach, you know, with the purple root. :) Because these dishes rely on the taste of the stems of the spinach, not only the leaves. (Sometimes if we are lucky, we can buy this type in the vegetable market here UK. If we can get it next time, I will cook it in a traditional way.. or many ways:))) Anyway, so I came up with this ‘salad’ by only using the leaves.
I still remember when I was little, my mum would put a coin on my hand, and ask me to go to the corner in the street buy a piece of tofu. The tofu was stacked in layers by wooden boards. Because it was just freshly made, I could see the hot steams coming out from it. I started loving all sorts of food made from soya, my mum felt a sigh of release – since I never liked meat very much, and soy products can make up all the protein I might miss. :))
There are different kinds of Tofu in the market, although the taste is not very much distinguishable, the texture is very different, firm, soft, medium soft, and those ones sold in the supermarket, for example, Cauldron Original Tofu (however, I wouldn’t suggest this one in Chinese dishes, as it is too dry, which makes the flavors of the dish difficult to go in.) Different type can be cooked differently, and combined with different things. Anyway, for this salad, I would prefer medium soft, but others would also do the job.
Chinese Spinach and Tofu Salad
Talked too much… because I don’t have much to talk about how to make it, as it is very simple. Here you go:
Tofu and spinach leaves
Salt, light soy sauce , old vinegar (if not, rice vinegar), white sugar, chili oil (optional), sesame oil .
2. Mix spinach leaves in. (Do put a bit more leaves in, as those leaves ‘shrink’ after mixed with salt.
3. Put half tea spoon of salt (again, depends on your own taste), 2 tea spoons of light soy sauce, 1 tea spoon of ‘old vinegar’ (if you don’t have in hand, use ONLY couple of drops of rice vinegar), a small pinch of white sugar, 1 table spoon of chili oil (only if you prefer, this chili oil does not have to be really ‘chili’, but the flavor of mixed oil and chili is great), and pour in some sesame oil.
4. Mix everything together well.
Very fresh, and healthy …with iron, protein, calcium, vitamin E… no fat :)))
So, after next week, summer will come back again, no?