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51. Chinese ‘guo ta’ tofu with spinach filling


How to cook tofu with spinach filling simple Chinese recipe
Chinese tofu with spinach

I made this dish totally by chance, but as for the result — I am quite proud of myself — I turned a meat dish into a nice vegetarian dish.:))

The original recipe is called Guo ta dou fu … difficult to translate into English… ‘Guo Ta’ is a way of cooking in which the food is slowly cooked until it gets dry and sticks to the bottom of the wok (hence the name ‘Guo Ta’).

‘Guo ta dou fa’ is a very popular recipe in Chinese cuisine. It is said that the original recipe originated in the province of Shangdong, but it then became one of the landmark dishes in Northern China .

The way of cooking and the ingredients, however, vary a bit from region to region. In my hometown area, ‘Guo ta dou fu’ is prepared with tofu and meat mince . Normally, it is prepared with pork mince, but in ‘Hui’ restaurants beef mince is used instead.

Usually, the composition of the mince is not shown in the menu, so be careful when ordering in restaurants if you are a vegetarian or if, like me, you don’t eat pork.

As I said, the ingredients of the original Northeast recipe are beef mince and tofu. One day, however, we got some frozen spinach, and after defrosting them, I thought that I could use them instead of meat mince. And spinach and tofu is always a good combination in Northern Chinese cuisine . So here it is this dish. I actually found this dish very romantic – for a romantic dinner? :))

The recipe: Tofu with Spinach Filling


Fresh tofu, spinach (fresh or frozen), egg, coriander (optional).

Flour, corn flour, oil, salt, sesame oil, five spice powder, garlic, ginger, spring onion, cooking wine.

Preparing the tofu and the spinach

1) Preparing the spinach filling . If you are using fresh spinach, after washing and quickly boiling, rinse it in cold water, and chop into small pieces; if you are using frozen spinach, just defrost them. Then add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 five spice powder, 1/3 teaspoon salt, mix well.

Preparing Chinese Spinach Filling Preparing Chinese Spinach Filling

2) Preparing the wrapping . In a mixing bowl, break one egg, and whisk with 1/2 cup of flour (approx.) and 2 tablespoons of corn flour, 1/3 teaspoon of salt, with water — medium thickness.

3) Chop a small piece of ginger, half of one spring onion, and roughly chop some coriander.

Cooking the tofu with spinach filling

1) Slice the tofu ‘open’ but one leave one edge still connected. (I used half of the tofu, around 4cm thick, so each layer is 2cm).

Slicing the tofuPutting the spinach filling into the tofu

2) Filling in prepared spinach mince in between the tofu.

Chinese tofu with spinach filling

3) Now, we have to seal the open edges of the tofu by using the ‘wrapping’ and light fry the tofu in the oil to make it ‘firmly’ hold together. Since the spinach filling is very difficult to be held together and transfered without breaking, here is a trick that I learned from a book.

In a plate, pour in some flour and egg mix to cover the base of the plate.

flour and egg mixAdding the mix to the tofu and spinach

4) Place the tofu onto the plate.

5) Then cover the tofu with the rest of the flour mix.

Flour mix covering tofu and spinach
Covering the tofu

6) In a wok, pour in around 5 tablespoon of oil.

Sir frying Chinese tofu and spinach
Putting the tofu in the wok

7) When the wok is heated up, carefully push the tofu from the plate into the wok.

8) When the two sides are both ‘golden’ colour, the surface is firmer, add in ‘soup stock’ if you have, otherwise, I just add in water, and chopped spring onion and ginger, coriander, and 1 tablespoon of cooking wine.

Guo ta doufu
Adding spring onion, ginger and coriander

9) Keep the fire strong for bringing it boiling, then turn down the fire to medium to low, for further around 7- 10 minutes.

10) When the sauce is ‘thickening’, and drying a little bit, turn off the fire, add in a few drops of sesame oil, and remove it to a deep edged plate.

Guo ta doufu: Chinese tofu with spinach filling
Chinese tofu with spinach filling

—– Serve! With boiled rice is the best! :)

It is a quite filling dish. If you are having this, the rest of the dishes should probably be lighter. :)

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