腐乳高麗菜 (fu ru gao li cai)
I have a habit of searching out recipes that make use of 豆腐乳 (dou fu ru)/fermented bean curd. With a texture and flavor reminiscent of a soft, strong, ripe cheese Furu is generally not eaten straight on its own (owing to the strong flavor and fragrance) but rather used for flavoring in sauces or with rice porridge. I won’t go into too much detail as to how it is produced. Since I don’t want to put anyone off of the stuff. I will just say that it is squares of tofu fermented and then packed in a flavored brine. It comes in white and red, the red color being imparted by the addition of red yeast rice in the brine. This recipe uses the white Furu.
I first encountered Fu Ru while staying at the Raisinay 民宿 (min su) “Home Stay” (sort of aTaiwanese Bed and Breakfast) in 苗栗縣 Miaoli County, which is to say that it is a bit south of Taipei and a bit north of Taichung and nicely tucked into the mountains. Other than a Home Stay, Raisinay is an Atayal weaving and dying workshop. So along with a refreshing respite from the dirty ol’ city you can also pick up some very nice hand loomed textiles.
Not to mention that Raisinay is just up the valley from the Hakka village of Nanzhuang 南庄with it’s own set of culinary and cultural delights. But enough of that, let’s get back to the cabbage.
In Taiwan the cabbage (高麗菜 gao li cai) they grow and use is a large flat head variety that is not so dense as the ball head ones you will find in the supermarkets in the states. So when using the dense ball head varieties you sort of have to separate the leaves by hand before cooking and cook it a little bit longer to soften it up a little.
- 1 lb. cabbage
- 1/2 t. chopped garlic
- 4-5 slices of ginger, julienned
- 1 small red (or green) chili pepper (or about 3 – 5 inches of a larger one), chopped
- 2 squares of Furu 豆腐乳
- 1/4 t. of sugar
- 1 t. shaoxing rice wine 紹興酒
- 1 T. water
- Roughly chop the cabbage into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces. Rinse and drain, making sure the leaves are separated.
- In a small bowl mix the seasoning ingredients together, smashing the furu completely. Set aside.
- Add 2 T. oil to a hot wok. To this add the chopped garlic and julienned ginger. Fry until fragrant (maybe 30 seconds).
- Add the chopped cabbage and stir fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the chopped chili pepper and the seasoning mix. Stir fry for a further 1-2 minutes until tender, but still crisp.